Cultural diversity and immigration impacts on innovation

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Nowadays, due to the increasingly competitive economic environment, and the constant danger of economic turndowns, innovation has come into great prominence not only as an important source of competitive advantage, but also as a powerful driver of economic growth and prosperity. In this new context, attention has been drawn to the role that socio-cultural diversity and immigration play in fostering innovation. Thus, the aim of this essay is to assess the impact of immigration on innovation. Furthermore, the question regarding whether or not a culturally diverse society represents an enabling environment for innovativeness shall be discussed. Nevertheless, a number of evidences and empirical data which support the linkage between cultural diversity, immigration and the innovation process shall be analysed.

Statistical reports have shown that at the turn of the century “4.6% of world population was born in a different country from the one where it currently lived”. (Bratti and Conti,2012:2). Given the size of this phenomenon, immigration has come into sharp focus on the global agenda, currently being at the centre of many economic and political debates and its economic consequences giving rise to a high level of research activity. Thus, it would be of highly importance to consider the contribution of increased cultural diversity in many societies to the innovation system especially when dealing with economic analysis and policy. However, in order to be able to analyse the effects of immigration and cultural diversity on innovation, firstly, the meaning of „innovation” as a concept along with its indicators should be tackled.

Defining ”innovation”could be rather a difficult task as it is a “multi-faceted phenomenon”, and a widely u...

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... of positive and negative effects, the overall impact of immigration on innovation should be considered in terms of empirical evidences. In this sense, this essay has presented a number of different studies and approaches from European countries, but also from the Unites States. Moreover five mechanisms through which immigration can boost innovation have been analysed. As opposed to this several negative effect of cultural diversity and immigration with regards to the innovation process have been considered along with several ways these drawbacks could be overcome. Thus, all things considered, it could be consented that migration and cultural diversity represent an opportunity as much as a challenge, but if managed carefully it would lead to positive outcomes such as innovation, technological change, increasing productivity gains and ultimately to economic growth.

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