Evaluation of Entrepreneurial Activity in the West Bank

Lack of secular economic opportunity is believed to be related to social unrest, engagement in terrorism, and association with radical groups. In conflict areas, difficulties accessing economic opportunity and employment are often exacerbated by movement restrictions and investor concerns about safety of physical plant and other capital investments that might enhance employment opportunities. Recent advances in cloud-computing and software-driven services present the promise of a solution through cloud-based entrepreneurial activity. In this study, we propose an RCT-enabled programmatic intervention designed to alleviate a number of frictions related to movement and capital constraints in these settings. We implement a pre-accelerator program in the Palestinian West Bank, which provides information about software- and cloud-based entrepreneurship and how to start such a business, coupled with basic entrepreneurship skills education. We aim to teach participants that it is possible to engage in entrepreneurship that is not limited by movement constraints, and equip them with the initial information and tools to do so. Our outcome variables capture effects on economic activity such as new business creation; engagement in other, more significant entrepreneurship training programs, such as accelerators; measures of personal outlook from the psychology literature such as optimism, hope and attitudes towards the future; and attitudes towards economic and security cooperation in the region.

Dizon-Ross, Rebecca et al. 2019. "Evaluation of Entrepreneurial Activity in the West Bank." AEA RCT Registry.