Cultural diversity, economic performance and resilience: what can we learn?

Does diversity have implications for economic performance? Back in 1998, a statement by Lew Platt, former CEO of Hewlett Packard, incepted a massive amount of studies in economics and management:  
“I see three main points to make the business case for diversity:

  • A talent shortage that requires us to seek out and use the full capabilities of all our employees.
  • The need to be like our customers, including the need to understand and communicate with them in terms that reflects their concerns.
  • Diverse teams produce better results.

This last point is not as easy to sell as the first two - especially to engineers who want the data.
What I need is the data, evidence that diverse groups do better.”

Diversity can promote economic performance in many ways. Immigrants and foreign workers bear transnational skills that facilitate trade and investment between their countries of origin and of destination. Being familiar with tastes and cultural-based preferences at home, they help creating product and business development opportunities. Experimental studies showed that groups with more diverse skills can outperform homogeneous groups, even the latter are more skilled, when it comes to complex problem solving. Diverse perspectives can lead to differentiated appreciations of business opportunities; the confrontation of diverse perspectives deepens knowledge and challenges the status quo. For all these reasons, many studies have provided evidence that diversity increases wages, innovation, and economic growth. Yet, diversity has not only positive sides. It also implies communication costs, distrust and lack of social cohesion. Nonetheless, the positive effects tend to prevail in wealthier and more inclusive societies.

As well as cultural diversity promotes entrepreneurship and economic growth, it may be expected to promote the resilience to economic shocks. Understanding this issue may be of particular importance given the current economic crisis incepted by the pandemic. Building on this evidence, in a recent study we address the relationship between cultural diversity and regional resilience to the 2008 economic crisis. Our findings indicate that the cultural diversity of immigrant entrepreneurs complements other regional resilience factors.

When: April 8, 15:00 - 16:15 (CET)

Event language: English

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(Membership in the community required)

  • Dr. Anna D'Ambrosio Dr. Anna D'Ambrosio

Anna D’Ambrosio is Assistant Professor of Applied Economics at the Polytechnic of Turin. She holds a PhD in Development Economics from the University of Trento (Italy).

Her research interests cover international economics, economic geography and labour economics. She has expertise in the study of determinants and effects of migration, FDI and trade, as well as on the impact evaluation of public policies.

She spent visiting research periods at the Institute for Employment Research (Germany) and at Orkestra- Insituto Vasco de Competitividad (Spain). She is a fellow of the VisitINPS initiative of the Italian Social Security Agency (INPS). She has ongoing teaching and research cooperation activities with the UN System and in particular with the International Training Centre of the ILO and with IOM- UN Migration.

Her works have been published in international journals, e.g., Economic Geography, Research Policy, Regional Studies, the Journal of Technology Transfer. In November 2020, she was awarded the Ladislao Mittner Prize in Economic Sciences.

Profile of  Anna D'Ambrosio in the community

About the event format

The Virtual Coffee Break is an interactive format that takes place regularly on the Alumniportal Deutschland. Speakers are Germany-Alumni who give a short input presentation on various topics and then answer questions from the participants. To enable exchange and fruitful discussions, the number of participants is limited.

This is an exclusive event for the members of the community. Alumniportal Deutschland membership is required to participate. The Virtual Coffee Breaks take place as Zoom meeting. Participation is also possible via a web browser (preferably Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome) and without a Zoom account.

Register now!


Share your knowledge in the community!

Are you an expert in your field? Are you working on an exciting project? Or would you like to present your research results? If you also believe the topic is interesting for fellow alumni, we would love to invite you to one of our next Virtual Coffee Breaks as a speaker.

Please send us your application by email with the following information:

  • Name
  • Subject or title
  • Short description
  • Why should the alumni take part in your Virtual Coffee Break?
  • Link to your profile in the Alumniportal community

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March 2021