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Congestion in Onboarding Workers and Sticky R&D
R&D investment spending exhibits a delayed and hump-shaped response to shocks. We show in a simple partial equilibrium model that rapidly adjusting R&D investment is costly if the probability of converting new hires into productive R&D workers (“onboarding”) is decreasing in the number of new hires (“congestion”). Congestion thus causes R&D-producing firms to slowly hire new workers in response to good shocks and hoard workers in response to bad shocks, providing a microfoundation for convex adjustment costs in R&D investment. Using novel, high-frequency productivity data on ...