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How stars matter: Recruiting and peer effects in evolutionary biology

Ajay Agrawal, John McHale () and Alexander Oettl ()

Research Policy, 2017, vol. 46, issue 4, 853-867

Abstract: The peer-effects literature highlights several distinct channels through which colleagues may affect individual and organizational performance. Building on this, we examine the relative contributions of different channels by decomposing the productivity effect of a star's arrival on (1) incumbents and (2) new recruits. Using longitudinal, university-level data, we report that hiring a star does not increase overall incumbent productivity, although this aggregate effect hides offsetting effects on related (positive) versus unrelated (negative) colleagues. However, the primary impact comes from an increase in the average quality of subsequent recruits, an effect that is most pronounced at non-highly-ranked institutions. We discuss the implications of our results for star-focused strategies to improve organizational performance.

Keywords: O31; J24; I23; Stars; Innovation; Peer effects; Spillovers; Recruiting (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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