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.

Rahman, A.

Firms may face short term barriers when deciding to become exporters. Their production costs may be too high to compete with international prices, or they may perceive quality standard testing to be too risky of an investment. At the same time, the Tunisian government is keen to see more firms become exporters, tapping into international markets for further growth. The government wishes to see its firms produce higher value-added goods.

Thompson, N., Khairullina, A., Tucci C.

This on-going project explores how much market protection patents provide. This is being tested in a randomized control trial, where a partner company is abandoning or maintaining patent protection based on whether that patent is in the treatment or control group. We are then analyzing market outcomes for the related products.

Assaf, N., Cusolito, A.P., McKenzie, D.

Matching grants are one of the most common types of private sector development programs used in developing countries. But government subsidies to private firms can be controversial. A key question is that of additionality: do these programs get firms to undertake innovative activities that they would not otherwise do, or merely subsidize activities that would take place anyway? Randomized controlled trials can provide the counterfactual needed to answer this question, but efforts to experiment with matching grant programs have often failed.

Åstebro, T., Vulkan, N.

Crowdfunding is a recent and rapidly growing method of raising funds for early-stage companies. It minimises the cost and effort involved in raising start-up funds compared to traditional equity funding methods such as venture capital investment. Very little systematic, non-survey research has been conducted into these methods of funding new ventures, however. ‘The wisdom of crowds in equity crowdfunding’ aims to fill this gap.

Byran, G., Jakiela, P., Karlan, D.

A loan programme for SMEs in the Philippines. Results forthcoming.

Kesavan, S., Rout, S.

This RCT will pilot Self-Accelerated Startups (SAS), a new peer-selection based entrepreneurship support model for idea-stage companies and student startups that uses collective bootstrapping on the lines of self-help groups in the social sector. In this model, prospective entrepreneurs meet regularly in groups for a pre-defined mentorship period and make small monthly contributions to a “seed fund”. At the end of this phase, the self-mobilized corpus is awarded as startup capital to one or two members by the rest of the peer group in return for equity in these startups.

Schoar, A., Eslava, M.

In the context of SME's in Colombia, researchers are evaluating the impact on firm performance of a legal reform which will provide a framework for the use and enforcement of movable collateral. Results forthcoming.

Cole, S., Schoar, A.

Microentrepreneurs in developing countries face complex financial management challenges. Many entrepreneurs do not have the financial skills to address these challenges and traditional classroom-based financial training has not been shown effective in changing behavior or improving financial outcomes. What is the most effective way to equip microentrepreneurs with the necessary skills to address their financial management challenges? Traditional financial education curricula have shown very mixed results for improving knowledge and financial practices among microentrepreneurs.

Bernstein, S., Korteweg, A., Laws, K.

By randomising the information sent to potential investors on AngelList over e-mail, this experiment finds evidence that the founding team of a startup has strong influence over the investor's decision to invest.

Llamas, S.

The Good Exporting Practices program in Argentina aims to increase the success in the foreign markets of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through supporting better practices in 7 core areas: i) strategy, ii) identification and segmentation of markets, iii) design and adaptation of the product, iv) production, v) communication, vi) distribution, and vii) administration. The Good Exporting Practices program targets firms that produce differentiated food products in various geographical regions in Argentina.

Hu, A., Ma. S.

This paper examines the persuasiveness of delivery in start-up pitches.

Karlan, D., Brune, L., Giné, X.

The income flows of micro and small business owners in developing countries are usually quite irregular and hard to predict. Microloans by microfinance institutions (MFIs) from around the developing world generally follow very rigid repayment schedules beginning immediately after the loan disbursement. Such repayment structures are unfit to support investments in technology or other solutions to expand the business, as these generally take longer to pay off.

Cai, J., Szeidl, A.

While small and medium enterprises (SMEs) represent a large segment of activity and employment, there has been little research on how their growth is affected by financial constraints. Indeed, because the credit needs of SMEs are too big for microfinance products, but that they lack the collateral to borrow from the traditional banking sector, SMEs are in some way the “missing middle” of credit constraint research. This project addresses this evidence gap by evaluating the impact of a new loan product, designed specifically for SMEs, on firm growth and other market outcomes.

Chliova, M, Brinckmanna, J., Rosenbusch, N.

In this meta-analysis what particularly stands out is the effect of microcredit on female empowerment. With respect to entrepreneurship and economic development outcomes, microcredit appears to have the most value in deprived contexts, but overall, results are highly dependent on context.

Beaman, L., Magruder, J., Robinson, J.

This trial focuses on micro-enterprises in Kenya which have low productivity, surveying firms weekly about lost sales.

Drexler, A., Fischer, G., Schoar, A.

Micro-entrepreneurs often lack the financial literacy required to make important financial decisions. We conducted a randomized evaluation with a bank in the Dominican Republic to compare the impact of two distinct programs: standard accounting training versus a simplified, rule-of-thumb training that taught basic financial heuristics. The rule-of-thumb training significantly improved firms' financial practices, objective reporting quality, and revenues.

Dupas, P., Robinson, J.

Does limited access to formal savings services impede business growth in poor countries? To shed light on this question, we randomized access to noninterest-bearing bank accounts among two types of self-employed individuals in rural Kenya: market vendors (who are mostly women) and men working as bicycle taxi drivers. Despite large withdrawal fees, a substantial share of market women used the accounts, were able to save more, and increased their productive investment and private expenditures. We see no impact for bicycle taxi drivers.

Paravisini, D. & Schoar, A.

This experiment provides direct evidence on how information technologies can lead to the decentralisation of decision-making processes within organisations, and how IT solutions may represent an effective and low-cost alternative to steepening or increasing monetary incentives. Providing credit scores increased the effort committees put into solving more difficult problems, increased committees' overall output, and reduced the need for higher-level manager involvement in the decision-making process.

Giné, X., Yang, D.

In the context of farming in Malawi, reducing risk did not induce an increase in demand for credit, contrary to theoretical predictions. These results highlight the difficulties in mitigating environmental risks to poor farmers and to increase investments in better technologies.

de Mel, S., McKenzie, D., Woodruff, C.

In the context of microfinance in Sri Lanka, high variance in returns may limit the willingness of banks to lend to microenterprises, but it remains a puzzle why incremental growth and reinvestment remains such a challenges as many firms have exhibited a high level of returns.