We assess whether imperfect knowledge of labor regulation hinders job creation at small and medium-sized firms. We partner with a labor law expert in South Africa that provides information to local firms about major topics regarding labor regulation via newsletters and access to a specialized website. We randomly assign 1800 firms to receive free access to this information service for a 21-week period. Three-quarters of the firms offered the service took it up.
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.
This study is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) on the effects of mentoring on SMEs in Norway. We aim to get a better understanding of firm development and dynamics in the presence of public interventions. Does mentoring affect firm performance and firm-survival? Does it matter what type of state aid a firm is granted; mentoring versus the financial equivalent of the service?
This paper examines the impact of improvements in marketing skills relative to finance skills among small-scale entrepreneurs. It addresses three important questions: (1) What is the impact of marketing or finance skills on business profits? (2) How do improvements in marketing and finance skills respectively affect different business outcomes? (3) When are increases in marketing relative to finance skills more beneficial?
We investigate the impact of a program providing asset transfers and business training to low income individuals in Chile, and asked whether a larger asset transfer would magnify the program's impact. We randomly assigned participation in a large scale, publicly run micro-entrepreneurship program and evaluated its effects over 45 months. The program improved business practices, employment, and labor income. In the short run, self-employment increased by 14.8/25.2 percentage points for a small/large asset transfer.
Examines a program in Benin that drastically reduces costs to formalize a business, while also offering tax mediation and training. Results forthcoming.
We use a randomized controlled trial to demonstrate that inexperienced female microenterprise owners in a Kenyan slum benefit from mentorship by an experienced entrepreneur in the same community. Mentorship increases profits by 20 percent on average with initially large effects that fade as matches dissolve. We conduct a formal business education intervention, which has no effect on profits despite changes in business practice.
This paper studies whether small-scale businesses can learn and adopt protable practices of their successful peers. We identify such practices through a detailed business survey in urban Indonesia and disseminate the information to a randomly selected sample of small retailers through a professionally developed handbook. An orthogonal subgroup is provided additional support through business role models, and another through individualized business counseling. We find a significant increase in the adoption of profitable practices in all sub-groups of retailers.
Almost all firms in developing countries have fewer than ten workers, with a modal size of one. Are there potential high-growth entrepreneurs, and can public policy help identify them and facilitate their growth? A large-scale national business plan competition in Nigeria provides evidence on these questions. Random assignment of US$34 million in grants provided each winner with approximately US$50,000.
A 5-day enterprise training programme for women in Kenya. Results forthcoming.
For young firms, the effect of business training on hiring a first employee remains ambiguous, and more research is needed to understand the relationships behind job creation by entrepreneurs.
Standard business training programs aim to boost the incomes of the millions of self-employed business owners in developing countries by teaching basic financial and marketing practices, yet the impacts of such programs are mixed. We tested whether a psychology-based personal initiative training approach, which teaches a proactive mindset and focuses on entrepreneurial behaviors, could have more success.
Using a randomized control trial, we evaluated the effect of a financial literacy program on the level of debt and on formal access to credit in Chile. We use a sample of beneficiaries of a publicly run micro-entrepreneurship program. We evaluated the program using administrative data with information on the debt level, interest rates, and new loans provided by the formal sector. The program tends to decreased debt level in the short run while increasing the probability of having formal debt.
Why does growth stall in high-growth potential, second-stage companies, and can we intervene to overcome this? This research seeks to address why growth rates so often peter out in adolescent firms, and why so few make it to “grownup” status. The experimental trial will also seek to identify and test specific policy interventions to reinvigorate growth in these situations. The project will have three phases.
Working with one of the largest tech incubators in the UK, this trial will deploy a multi-site RCT in two different cities. After pre-selection, entry into the incubator will be randomised for 100 firms per site. The experiment will then explore post-treatment outcomes including survival, recombination, and changes in post-treatment revenue, employment and level of external finance raised.
Using interviews and surveys we will also explore whether different parts of the treatment vary in their effectiveness (e.g. mentoring versus peer to peer interactions).
This study reports on a randomized field experiment conducted in the Netherlands to estimate the (long-term) effect of a short personalized tax training program on the performance and tax compliance of first-time entrepreneurs. The tax training was expected to have an impact on business performance and different aspects of tax compliance through better financial decision making and more relevant tax knowledge.
Is the GATE Programme/Entrepreneurship training a valid response to various forms of market failure (allocative inefficiency in credit, labour, insurance and human capital markets)? Can such a programme have an effect on business sales, earnings or employees?
Many resources, such as business acumen are thought to feed into entrepreneurial success. However, an open question is whether the tools and frameworks available to nascent startups are causally related to their successes in the areas of financing, employment and revenue growth, valuations, etc. In this study, we use a large-scale RCT to assess the impact of entrepreneurship skills training on startup decisions and outcomes across the U.S. In the study, startups associated co-working spaces are offered payment to complete a series of surveys tracking their outcomes over two years.
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.
Research confirms that business coaching is core to most incubation and acceleration programmes. Business coaching combines aspects of teaching, training, mentoring, and consulting and creates a general support approach for early-stage technology ventures. It has been identified as a key attribute to the impact of an early-stage venture team’s performance.
Evaluation comparing the impact of a managerial consulting program with training on export business models in Córdoba, Argentina. Results forthcoming.
Some firms say they care about the well-being and “happiness” of their employees. But are such claims hype or scientific good sense? We provide evidence, for a classic piece rate setting, that happiness makes people more productive. In three different styles of experiment, randomly selected individuals are made happier. The treated individuals have approximately 12% greater productivity. A fourth experiment studies major real-world shocks ðbereavement and family illnessÞ. Lower happiness is systematically associated with lower productivity.
This experiment in Colombia will test the impact of a business training programme. Results forthcoming.
Will increased exposure to the principles of effectuation accelerate novice entrepreneurs’ development of entrepreneurial expertise? What kind of pedagogical tools and methods can provide that exposure and opportunities for deliberate practice? The principles of effectuation [www.effectuation.org], a set of heuristics underlying how expert entrepreneurs make decisions during new venture creation, are increasingly being used by entrepreneurship educators, consultants and practitioners.
We investigate the relationship between employees' and managers' training and firm performance using a policy intervention that randomly assigned training support to small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises in the UK accommodation and food service sector. Because the number of firms self‐selected into training exceeded available places, training was randomly assigned to some firms, resulting in a randomized natural experimental design that allowed us to identify the average effect of training on treated firms.
This paper explores the effectiveness of goal setting and accountability within group-based entrepreneurship initiatives in creating human capital. The study uses a randomized cluster trial to compare the experimental and control groups of entrepreneurs. The results suggest that frequent goal setting and accountability in group settings provides a greater number of learning experiences and human capital development opportunities available to entrepreneurs than those that did not engage in the same level of goal setting.
Entrepreneurship programmes have a strong positive effect on youths, particularly on labour-market activities and business-practice outcomes, and improve business knowledge and practice, particularly for existing entrepreneurs. However, there is no evidence that this translates into improved business performance and increased income.
A business and financial literacy programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina showed no effect on business survival but appeared to have some limited effects on improving participant's business practices.
Evaluation of two different entrepreneurship training programmes and access to certain types of capital in Colombia. Preliminary results available. Main results forthcoming.
While research is advancing quickly in the area of business training and entrepreneurship evaluations in the developing world, many of the effects are still unknown and are highly dependent on the context.
Most academic and development policy discussions about microentrepreneurs focus on credit constraints and assume that subject to those constraints, the entrepreneurs manage their business optimally. Yet the self-employed poor rarely have any formal training in business skills. A growing number of microfinance organizations are attempting to build the human capital of microentrepreneurs in order to improve the livelihood of their clients and help further their mission of poverty alleviation.