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 11: All in the mix? Top team demographics and business performance in English firms, 2008–9

Max Nathan


Like many other countries covered in this volume, the UK has become substantially more ethnically and culturally diverse in recent decades, with net migration a main driver. Between 2001 and 2011, for example, the foreign-born population of England and Wales rose from 4.6 to 7.5 million (from nine to 13 per cent of the population). At the same time, the share of ‘white’ and ‘white British’ ethnic groups decreased, from 91.3 per cent to 86 per cent, and from 87.5 per cent to 80 per cent, respectively. Notably, the fastest-growing ethnic group was ‘other white’, with Polish-born the fastest-growing migrant group (Office for National Statistics, 2012b, Office for National Statistics, 2012a). These demographic changes have been most striking in urban areas: notably, London is now a ‘majority–minority’ city for the first time in its history. Given the long-term nature of these shifts, researchers and policymakers are turning their attention to the dynamic effects of immigrant communities on host country economies – both via the cultural diversity that migration brings, and through a range of production and consumption-side channels at firm and city level (see Kerr and Kerr (2011), Ottaviano and Peri (2013) and Nathan (2015) for recent reviews). This is not the only ‘diversity’ at stake: gender equality is a major issue for businesses and government (McKinsey, 2007). In the UK, particular public attention is paid to the presence and impact of women in senior positions, and to encouraging female entrepreneurship (Davies Review, 2011).

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