Team Production and the Homophily Trap: Evidence from Open Source Software

48 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2023

See all articles by Davidson Heath

Davidson Heath

University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business

Nathan Seegert

University of Utah - Department of Finance

Jeffrey Yang

University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business

Date Written: December 6, 2023

Abstract

We investigate team diversity and productivity in the setting of open source software. We find that team diversity is low relative to the contributor pool, with the most mass at the lowest level of diversity (monoculture). This pattern is explained by homophily, the preference to associate with similar people, which leads to teams becoming trapped in low-diversity equilibria. Our results are robust to instrumenting changes in team diversity using teams' exposure to country-level changes in Internet access. Teams that escape the "homophily trap" add more diversity and increase productivity relative to teams that do not.

Keywords: homophily, diversity, productivity, teams, open source software

JEL Classification: J16, J17, L17, L86

Suggested Citation

Heath, Davidson and Seegert, Nathan and Yang, Jeffrey, Team Production and the Homophily Trap: Evidence from Open Source Software (December 6, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4655458 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4655458

Davidson Heath (Contact Author)

University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business ( email )

1645 E Campus Center Dr
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9303
United States

Nathan Seegert

University of Utah - Department of Finance ( email )

David Eccles School of Business
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States

Jeffrey Yang

University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business ( email )

1645 E Campus Center Dr
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9303
United States

HOME PAGE: http://jeffreytyang.github.io

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