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Why Stars Matter

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  • Ajay K. Agrawal
  • John McHale
  • Alex Oettl

Abstract

The growing peer effects literature pays particular attention to the role of stars. We decompose the causal effect of hiring a star in terms of the productivity impact on: 1) co-located incumbents and 2) new recruits. Using longitudinal university department-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. This is most pronounced at mid-ranked institutions, suggesting implications for the socially optimal spatial organization of talent.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 20012.

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Date of creation: Mar 2014
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20012

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  1. Fabian Waldinger, 2009. "Peer Effects in Science - Evidence from the Dismissal of Scientists in Nazi Germany," CEP Discussion Papers, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE dp0910, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. E. Han Kim & Adair Morse & Luigi Zingales, 2006. "Are Elite Universities Losing Their Competitive Edge?," NBER Working Papers 12245, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Alexander Oettl, 2012. "Reconceptualizing Stars: Scientist Helpfulness and Peer Performance," Management Science, INFORMS, INFORMS, vol. 58(6), pages 1122-1140, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Ajay Agrawal & John McHale & Alexander Oettl, 2013. "Collaboration, Stars, and the Changing Organization of Science: Evidence from Evolutionary Biology," NBER Working Papers 19653, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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