The Economics of Cultural Diversity
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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.
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Chapter 8: Ethnic segregation and crime: are offenders ethnically biased when choosing target areas?

Wim Bernasco


Recent literature on cultural diversity in neighborhoods, in cities and in firms suggests that cultural diversity positively influences economic activity, productivity and consumption (e.g., Bakens, Mulder and Nijkamp 2013; Ottaviano and Peri 2006). The sociological and criminological literature, however, is not as positive about the effects of cultural diversity. It points to potential disadvantages, and suggests that cultural diversity is associated with a variety of social problems, including increased levels of violent and property crime. According to social disorganization theory (Bursik and Grasmick 1993; Kornhauser 1978; Sampson 2012; Shaw and McKay 1942) cultural or ethnic diversity – alone, or in combination with economic deprivation and high population turnover – creates religious, language and other cultural barriers to interaction, which in turn reduces the willingness of residents to execute social control, i.e. their willingness to contribute to the local public good of community safety.

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