Table of Contents

The Economics of Cultural Diversity

The Economics of Cultural Diversity

Edited by Peter Nijkamp, Jacques Poot and Jessie Bakens

The populations of many countries in the world are becoming more culturally diverse. This spurs a growing need for an informed debate on the socio-economic implications of cultural diversity. This book offers a solid statistical and econometric perspective on this topical subject by bringing together studies from different countries in Europe and North America. The research in this volume sheds light on several consequences of cultural diversity, including positive impacts on innovation, growth and entrepreneurship, with contributions highlighting how there can be negative social effects on communities. Throughout the volume, it is evident that the effects of cultural diversity on socio-economic outcomes depend largely on the characteristics of local economies, populations and communities.

Chapter 1: E Pluribus Prosperitas: on cultural diversity and economic development

Jessie Bakens, Peter Nijkamp and Jacques Poot

Subjects: economics and finance, labour economics, regional economics, urban and regional studies, migration, regional economics


We live in the age of migration: more than 3 per cent of the world’s population is nowadays recorded as an immigrant, and this percentage is likely to rise in the future because of our open and globalizing economies. It is noteworthy that – in contrast to the past centuries and decades in which migration was a geographically selective process (witness typical migration countries such as Canada, the USA, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand) – migration is at present a world-wide process, with great impacts on both the sending and receiving countries (see e.g. Nijkamp et al., 2012). A good illustration of the above-mentioned trend can be found in Europe, which has faced significant migration-related population dynamics over the past 50 years. According to EUROSTAT (2011), net migration accounted for approximately 71 per cent of the total population increase in Europe in 2010, mainly as a result of the arrival of labour migrants in the search for more favourable economic opportunities. In 2010, Europe appears to have accommodated more than 32.5 million migrants, a significant share of them originating from non-EU member states. Migration motives have changed quite a bit over the years; from motives stemming from political suppression and (de)colonization in the past, to economic and family reunification motives nowadays. The nature of migration has changed quite a bit as well, with various forms of temporary and circular migration complementing, or substituting for, conventional one-way permanent migration (e.g. Poot et al., 2008).