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Abstract: This study investigates the effects of scientists' inbound mobility on the research performance of incumbent scientists in an academic setting. The theoretical framework integrates insights from learning theory and social comparison theory to suggest two main mechanisms behind these effects: localized learning and social comparison. The authors propose several hypotheses about the conditions that might intensify or weaken such effects. Specifically, the arrival of new scientific personnel is likely to exert stronger positive effects on the performance of incumbent scientists with shorter (cf. longer) organizational tenure; in addition, academic departments with less diversified expertise and with higher levels of internal collaborations likely reap greater benefits from learning by hiring. The empirical findings, based on a longitudinal analysis of a sample of 94 U.S. academic chemical engineering departments, provide empirical support for these contentions.
scientists’ mobility; learning by hiring; research performanc