The impact of group diversity on class performance: evidence from college classrooms

Zeynep Hansen, Hideo Owan*, Jie Pan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


We combine class performance data from an undergraduate management course with students’ personal records to examine how group diversity affects group work performance and individual learning. Students are exogenously assigned to groups. We find that, on average, male-dominant groups performed worse in their group work and learned less (based on their grades in individually taken exams). This gender effect is highly significant in individual learning outcomes providing evidence that gender diversity is influential in the level and nature of knowledge transfers within groups. The results are robust to controlling for the team governance form, a unique feature in our study. Finally, racial diversity had no significant effect on group or individual performances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-258
Number of pages21
JournalEducation Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Mar 4
Externally publishedYes


  • collaborative skills
  • diversity
  • educational economics
  • learning
  • productivity
  • teams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Economics and Econometrics


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