IGL Trials Database

IGL curates a database with randomised controlled trials in the field of innovation, entrepreneurship and growth. Browse our list of topics, see it as a map, or use the search function below.

2024
Novelli , E., Spina, C.

Prior research suggests that firms in entrepreneurial settings benefit from a scientific approach to decision making that combines cognitive and evidence-based components. But to what extent and under what conditions is the scientific approach to decision-making associated with superior performance?

2024
Bapna, S., Burtch, G.

Social ventures that are fundraising through crowdfunding often involve major donors to influence the contributions of smaller donors. We theorize that male and female donors will respond differently to alternative major-donor contribution schemes that are commonly used by social ventures. In a field experiment, donors were randomly assigned to receive one of three solicitation messages about a pair of projects that were seeking funds through reward-based crowdfunding.

2024
Azzolini, D., Doppio, N., Mion, L., Russo, I.Q., Tomelleri, A.

Innovating product design is crucial for firms operating in the digital sector as it is closely linked with innovation capability and, therefore, with firm performance and productivity. In this paper, we run a randomized controlled trial to assess if participating in an open innovation initiative increases SMEs’ capability to design more competitive digital products. More specifically, the intervention aimed at increasing firms’ knowledge of the Design Sprint and their readiness to implement user-centered design techniques.

2024
Avdeenko, A., Campos, F., Chandy, R., Iacovone, L., Kala, N.

Business-science collaboration is essential for fostering innovation and economic development, particularly in rapidly evolving sectors like AI and Energy Efficiency and Sustainability. We study how to enhance the collaboration between firms and scientists given persistent barriers such as information frictions, behavioral biases, and high transaction costs. To address existing challenges, the research investigates the potential of matchmaking interventions.

2024
Pheonix Group, MoreThanNow

In late 2021, Phoenix Group, a FTSE 100 financial services firm and long-term partner of MoreThanNow, asked us to evaluate the impact of an Inclusive Leadership Programme. Everyone involved in the project was aware of the limited evidence for the effectiveness of online diversity training, but the team at Phoenix Group were interested in whether bespoke, best-in-class, inclusivity training for leaders would change behaviour. 

2024
Castro, S., Englmaier, F., Guadalupe, M.

Psychological safety (PsyS) is an important driver of teams’ performance and organizations are keen to foster it. However, there is little causal evidence on what drives it and how to increase it. This paper implements a randomized control trial with over 1000 teams (over 7000 employees) in a global healthcare company to evaluate the impact of individualized attention of the manager to each team member team by encouraging managers to hold frequent 1-to-1 meetings and to focus them on mechanisms expected to increase PsyS.

2024
Colonnelli, E., McQuade, T., Ramos, G., Rauter, T., Xiong, O.

We conduct a field experiment in partnership with the largest job platform in Brazil to study how environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices of firms affect talent allocation. We find both an average job-seeker's preference for ESG and a large degree of heterogeneity across socioeconomic groups, with the strongest preference displayed by highly educated, white, and politically liberal individuals. We combine our experimental estimates with administrative matched employer-employee microdata and estimate an equilibrium model of the labor market.

2024
Nunez-Chaim, G., Overman, H.G., Riom, C.

We evaluate the impact of the UK’s Growth Vouchers Programme, which offered subsidised business advice to 15,207 randomly selected small and medium size enterprises. Using administrative and survey data, we show that the programme increased turnover by 8.2% but only in the short-term and potentially at the expense of non-supported firms. We find that subsidised advice appears to improve firms’ capabilities and practices in a way that is consistent with the increase in turnover.

2024
Colonnelli, E., Loiacono, F., Muhumuza, E., Teso, E.

We study whether information frictions and corruption perceptions deter firms from doing business with the government. We conduct two nationwide randomized con- trolled trials (RCTs) in collaboration with the national anti-corruption and public procurement supervisory agency in Uganda.The first RCT aims to increase transparency on available procurement opportunities. We provide firms with direct and timely access to information about government tenders over a two-year period, approximating the existence of a centralized portal for tender notices typical of e-procurement reforms.

2024
Cui, K.Z., Demirer, M., Jaffe, S., Musolff, L., Peng, S., Salz, T.

We are providing a preview of a project that analyzes two field experiments with 1,974 software developers at Microsoft and Accenture to evaluate the productivity impact of Generative AI. As part of our study, a random subset of developers was given access to GitHub Copilot, an AI-based coding assistant that intelligently suggests ‘completions’ for code. Our preliminary results provide suggestive evidence that these developers became more productive, completing 12.92% to 21.83% more pull requests per week at Microsoft and 7.51% to 8.69% at Accenture (depending on specification).

2023
Clarke, R.P., Delecourt, S., Holtz, D., Koning, R., Otis, N.G.

There is a growing belief that scalable and low-cost AI assistance can improve firm decision-making and economic performance. However, running a business involves a myriad of open-ended problems, making it hard to generalize from recent studies showing that generative AI improves performance on well-definedwriting tasks. In our field experiment with 640 Kenyan entrepreneurs, we assessed the impact of AI-generated advice on small business revenues and profits.

2023
Dai, W., Kim, H., Luca, M.

Measuring the returns of advertising opportunities continues to be a challenge for many businesses. We design and run a field experiment in collaboration with Yelp across 18,294 firms in the restaurant industry to understand which types of businesses gain more from digital advertising. We randomly assign 7,209 restaurants to freely receive Yelp’s standard ads package for three months. The scale of the experiment gives us a unique opportunity to assess the heterogeneity in advertising effectiveness across a variety of business attributes.

2023
Atkin, D., Berman, A., Demir, B.

Understanding how to design policies to effectively reduce firm-level carbon emissions while minimizing impacts on economic growth is a question of central importance in the battle to mitigate climate change. The EU is proposing a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) that will tax imports to better reflect their carbon content. This project evaluates three policies that provide firms with training and assistance obtaining loans with the goal of mitigating the impacts of CBAM on Turkish SMEs.

2023
Oh, J.J.

Whose problems do investors see as worth solving? I experimentally study how investors evaluate a startup idea based on the socioeconomic background of the founder, the target customer, and the (in)congruence between the two. I am also interested in how the socioeconomic background of investors themselves affect these evaluations. I aim to contribute to the research on diversity and inequality in entrepreneurial funding in which socioeconomic backgrounds have been relatively understudied.

2023
Adhvaryu, A., Nyshadham, A., Wu, H.X., Xu, H.

Effective workplace management plays a crucial role in determining employee performance, retention, and subsequently, overall firm performance. While conventional management strategies often emphasize hierarchical relationships, peer-to-peer management, or "managing across," represents a promising yet largely unexplored approach. This study aims to investigate the impact of peer-to-peer management training on various employee outcomes and identify the conditions under which the intervention proves most effective.

2023
Bernstein, S., Colonnelli, E., Hoffman, M., Iverson, B.C.

In an RCT with US small businesses, we document that a large share of firms are not well-informed about bankruptcy. Many assume that bankruptcy necessarily entails the death of a business and do not know about Chapter 11 bankruptcy, where debts are renegotiated so that the business can continue operating. Small businesses are also unaware of a recent major reform that lowered the costs of bankruptcy procedures to enhance their protection.

2023
Adhvaryu, A., Nyshadham, A., Wu, H.X., Xu, H.

Management strategies significantly influence worker productivity, retention, career growth, and the overall performance of a firm. Traditional top-down approaches have typically underscored the importance of supervisors in shaping managerial quality and employee performance. Much research suggests that training supervisors to effectively manage their subordinates may be a useful way to enhance supervisor-worker relationships and, in turn, boost firm productivity. However, these approaches may face two primary challenges.

2023
Noy, S., Zhang, W.

We examine the productivity effects of a generative artificial intelligence technology—the assistive chatbot ChatGPT—in the context of mid-level professional writing tasks. In a preregistered online experiment, we assign occupation-specific, incentivized writing tasks to 444 college-educated professionals, and randomly expose half of them to ChatGPT. Our results show that ChatGPT substantially raises average productivity: time taken decreases by 0.8 SDs and output quality rises by 0.4 SDs.

2023
Corboz, A., Kotha, R., Lin, Y., Vissa, B.

Does growth training help entrepreneurs scale-up new ventures? Our field experiment answers this question using data from 181 Singapore-based, early-growth entrepreneurs drawn from a broad range of industry sectors. Treatment content focused on three growth-catalyst tools relevant for formulating and executing innovation-led growth: business-model design, leveraging external networks, building internal teams. Treatment format comprised interactive lecture sessions and workshops on these tools supplemented by personalized coaching in applying the tools to entrepreneurs’ specific challenges.

2023
Apostoloski, N., Spina, C.

Failure is widely acknowledged as a critical component of the organizational learning and innovation processs. Learning from failure, in particular, seems extremely relevant in the context of entrepreneurship, where failure often emerges as the predominant outcome. Remarkably, most entrepreneurship training programs predominantly emphasize success stories of entrepreneurs, without leveraging the learning potential that come from stories of failure.

2023
Iacovone, L., McIntosh, C., Rogger, D., Sanchez-Bayardo, L.F.

We study how local public infrastructure investment affects neighborhood economies. By tracking the impacts of US$68 million of randomized investments in Mexican municipalities, we document how government investment leads to sustained increases in the size and profitability of treated private-sector companies. Initially, wages rise to compensate for higher costs of living, inefficient firms die, and more efficient firms grow faster. Over the subsequent decade treated firms increase their capital stocks and revenues, suggesting durable improvements in the structure of the local economy.

2023
Bar-Gill, S., Brynjolfsson, E., Hak, N.

As more and more activities in the economy become digitized, analytics and data-driven decision-making (DDD) are becoming increasingly important. The adoption of analytics and DDD has been slower in small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) compared to large firms, and reliable causal estimates of the impacts of analytics tools for small businesses have been lacking. We derive experiment-based estimates of the effect of an analytics tool on SME outcomes, analyzing the randomized introduction of eBay’s Seller Hub (SH), a data-rich seller dashboard.

2023
Anderson, S., Grover, A., Ubfal, D.

Entrepreneurs in developing countries face a series of diverse constraints to growth, including lack of access to business skills, markets, and finance. The binding constraints vary from firm to firm, implying that the returns to possible interventions are likely to be heterogeneous.

2023
Breda, T., Grenet, J., Monnet, M., Van Effenterre, C.

We show in a large-scale field experiment that a brief exposure to female role models working in scientific fields affects high school students’ perceptions and choices of undergraduate major. The classroom interventions reduced the prevalence of stereotypical views on jobs in science and gender differences in abilities. They also made high-achieving girls in grade 12 more likely to enrol in selective and male-dominated science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs in college.

2023
Alan, S., Corekcioglu, G., Sutter, M.

We evaluate the impact of a training program aimed at improving the relational atmosphere in the workplace. The program encourages prosocial behavior and the use of professional language, focusing primarily on leaders’ behavior and leader-subordinate interactions. We implement this program using a clustered randomized design involving over 3,000 headquarters employees of 20 large corporations in Turkey. We evaluate the program with respect to employee separation, pro- and antisocial behavior, the prevalence of support networks, and perceived workplace climate.

2023
Adem, A., Kneller, R., Li, C.

This study examines the influence of information constraints on firms’ efficiency in using digital technologies, focusing on business websites. Through two natural field experiments in the UK, we provide firms with benchmarked performance information on their websites. The experimental designs enable us to assess the salience of the information provided and heterogeneity linked to prior experience and catch-up potential.

2023
Abel, M.

First, we will recruit people to provide advice on whether to invest in actual start-up firms and to provide a justification for their decision. We create pairs of advisors that provide the same recommendation but differ by race and gender. Next, we recruit participants for the role of investors. Each participant is endowed with one dollar for each of the four investment rounds. The adviser provides her/his assessment and investment recommendation. The investor then decides how much to invest, and the outcome is revealed.

2023
Guzman, J., Oh, J.J., Sen, A.

Drawing the attention of innovators to climate change is important for green innovation. We report an email field experiment with MIT using messages about the impact of climate change to invite innovators (SBIR grantees) to apply to a technology competition. We vary our messages on the time frame and scale of the human cost of climate change across scientifically valid scenarios. Innovator attention (clicks) is sensitive to climate change messaging. These changes in clicks also predict higher application rates.

2023
Hardy, M., Kim, S., McCasland, J., Menzel, A., Witte, M.

We document interest in labor reallocation among small firm owners in Ghana; 60% and 41%, respectively, self-report willingness to hire or work for the average local firm owner. Firm owners also exhibit high willingness-to-pay for information on a random subset of hiring firms and jobseeking firm owners, during a Becker-Degroot-Marschak exercise. Conditionally random variation in access to this information generates immediate labor adjustments within and between firms, though rarely of firm owners themselves, and impacts firm closure 5-months post-intervention.

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