Discussion paper

DP16015 Diversity and Team Performance in a Kenyan Organization

We present the results from a field experiment on team diversity. Individuals working as door-to-door canvassers for a non-profit organization were randomly assigned a teammate, a supervisor, and a list of individuals to canvass. This created random variation within teams in the degree of horizontal diversity (between teammates), vertical diversity (between teammates and their supervisor) and external diversity (between teams and the individuals they canvassed). We observe team-level measures of performance and find that horizontal ethnic diversity decreases performance, while vertical diversity often improves performance, and external diversity has no effect. The data on time use suggests that horizontally homogeneous teams organized tasks in a more efficient way, while vertically homogeneous teams exerted lower effort.


Marx, B, V Pons and T Suri (2021), ‘DP16015 Diversity and Team Performance in a Kenyan Organization‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 16015. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp16015