Racial Diversity and Team Performance: Evidence from the American Offshore Whaling Industry

79 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2023 Last revised: 6 Feb 2024

See all articles by Michele Baggio

Michele Baggio

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics

Metin M. Cosgel

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 31, 2024

Abstract

We use data from the natural experiment of the American offshore whaling industry to examine the causal effect of racial diversity on team performance. Teams consist of the crew operating onboard whaling vessels, and performance is measured by the value of the output captured during the voyage. Our identification strategy rests on the special characteristics of whaling voyages and exploits the richness of the data by including several fixed effects that address omitted factors. The results show that racial diversity’s effect on performance is U-shaped. The nonlinear effect was transmitted negatively by conflicts and positively by creativity among the whalemen. Crews adapted to diversity over time, as the effect shifted from being strongly negative in short-term voyages to negligible in the medium-term and then to positive in long term voyages.

Keywords: Racial diversity, Team performance, Labor Productivity, Firm Behavior, Creativity, Conflicts, Discrimination, Adaptation

JEL Classification: D24, J15, J24, L25, M14, N11, O47

Suggested Citation

Baggio, Michele and Cosgel, Metin M., Racial Diversity and Team Performance: Evidence from the American Offshore Whaling Industry (January 31, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4398892 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4398892

Michele Baggio (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics ( email )

365 Fairfield Way, U-1063
Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States

Metin M. Cosgel

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics ( email )

365 Fairfield Way, U-1063
Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States

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