Differences in management quality are an important contributor to productivity differences across countries. A key question is then how to best improve poor management in developing countries. We test two different approaches to improving management in Colombian auto parts firms. The first uses intensive and expensive one-on-one consulting, while the second draws on agricultural extension approaches to provide consulting to small groups of firms at approximately one-third of the cost of the individual approach.
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.
A randomized control trial with 945 entrepreneurs in Jamaica shows positive shortterm impacts of soft-skills training on business outcomes. The effects are concentrated among men, and disappear twelve months after the training.
We examine the influence of physical proximity on between-startup knowledge spillovers at one of the largest technology co-working hubs in the United States. Relying on the random assignment of office space to the hub's 251 startups, we find that proximity positively influences knowledge spillovers as proxied by the likelihood of adopting an upstream web technology already used by a peer startup.
We study direct productivity changes and spillovers after a randomized training program for the frontline workers in a Colombian government agency. While trained workers improved their individual production, we also find substantial spillovers that affected managers' productivity. We use email data and a survey to explore the mechanisms behind these spillovers and find that managers' increased output arises from reductions in the need to help lower level employees.
This paper tests whether providing more information on business practices can lead firms to seek out advice and improve their practices. The authors collaborated with a business advice provider in Brazil to implement a randomized experiment with 866 small firms. The treatment groups received different versions of an information sheet that benchmarked business practices to other firms and listed five practices to improve.
We study the allocation and productivity consequences of managerial training via a randomized controlled trial among supervisors in a large ready-made garment firm. We designed a program using practices identified as productive in Adhvaryu et al. (2022c), and asked factory and floor managers (FFMs) – who are directly above supervisors in the hierarchy – to recommend which of the supervisors they manage should be prioritized for training. We then randomized access to the program within these recommendation rankings.
What is preventing entrepreneurs and managers from forming peer connections themselves? This paper argues that entrepreneurs may be under-networked because they lack the necessary social skills that allow them to match efficiently with knowledgeable peers.
This study asks why more small firms in developing countries do not use the market for professional business services like accounting, marketing, and human resource specialists and asks how this could be altered.
This project evaluated the impact of a program aiming to improve the workplace climate in corporations.
The model shows that managers and entrepreneurs make better decisions under uncertainty if they adopt a scientific approach in which they formulate and test theories.
Cavendish Enterprise's Business Boost trial project involved providing young small firms - typically micro-businesses - with a treatment involving a series of workshops designed to enhance productivity. This was provided largely as a top-up to an advice and mentoring programme called 'Start and Grow'. The project was part of the government's Business Basics Programme which has the core aim of identifying cost effective, yet productivity enhancing, programmes of business support for SMEs which can be run at scale throughout the country.
Indian weaving firms are visited again nine years after a randomized experiment that changed their management practices.
We investigate how knowledge similarity between two individuals is systematically related to the likelihood that a serendipitous encounter results in knowledge production. We conduct a field experiment at a medical research symposium, where we exogenously varied opportunities for face-to-face encounters among 15,817 scientist-pairs. Our data include direct observations of interaction patterns collected using sociometric badges, and detailed, longitudinal data of the scientists' postsymposium publication records over 6 years.
This field experiment was conducted in a sales firm to test whether improving knowledge flows between coworkers affects productivity.
The use of machine learning (ML) for productivity in the knowledge economy requires considerations of important biases that may arise from ML predictions. We define a new source of bias related to incompleteness in real time inputs, which may result from strategic behavior by agents. We theorize that domain expertise of users can complement ML by mitigating this bias. Our observational and experimental analyses in the patent examination context support this conjecture.
This paper discusses implementing a lab-in-the-field experiment with 334 Turkish loan officers to test for the presence, and learn about the mechanisms, of gender discrimination in small business lending.
In this paper, a randomised experiment measures the effects of workers at an automobile manufacturing firm evaluating their managers on worker and firm outcomes.
This paper asks to what extent firms are aware of readily available information on key competitor decisions, and how this information impacts firms’ strategic choices.
This paper evaluates the effect of joint tasks on the creation of network ties with data from a novel field experiment with 112 aspiring entrepreneurs.
What is the effect of exposing motivated youth to firm management in practice? To answer this question, we place young professionals for one month in established firms to shadow middle managers. Using random assignment into program participation, we find positive average effects on wage employment, but no average effect on the likelihood of self-employment. Within the treatment group, we match individuals and firms in batches using a deferred-acceptance algorithm. We show how this allows us to identify heterogeneous treatment effects by firm and intern.
This paper discusses the development of a model contract to make self-liquidating, quasi-equity investments in microenterprises.
Individual-level opportunity recognition processes are vital to corporate entrepreneurship. However, little is known regarding how managerial communication impacts the effectiveness of idea suggestion systems in stimulating individuals' participation in intrapreneurial ideation. Integrating self-determination theory, creativity, and framing research, we theorize how different ways of inviting employees to submit proposals (opt-out/opt-in registration; provision of examples) affect the number and quality of submitted ideas.
This paper studies the impact of a financial education program for top managers of medium and large enterprises in Mozambique through a randomized controlled trial (RCT). We use survey data and financial reporting data to show consistent evidence that managers adjust some financial policies in response to the education program. The largest treatment effects are on short-term financial policies related to working capital, generating a positive impact on cash flows due to reductions in account receivables and inventories.
A classical approach to collecting and elaborating information to make entrepreneurial decisions combines search heuristics such as trial and error, effectuation, and confirmatory search. This paper develops a framework for exploring the implications of a more scientific approach to entrepreneurial decision making. The panel sample of our randomized control trial includes 116 Italian startups and 16 data points over a period of about one year.
Organizations constantly strive to unleash their entrepreneurial potential to keep up with market and technology changes. To this end, they engage employees in practices like corporate crowdsourcing, incubators, accelerators or hackathons. These organizational practices emulate independent “green-field” entrepreneurship by relinquishing hierarchical control and granting employees autonomy in the choices of how to conduct work.
Unlike many other studies, this trial is an impact assessment of training programs that covered quality control and production management as the training topics in addition to entrepreneurship, marketing, and record keeping.
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.
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?
This project aims to understand how increased access to competitor information enabled by digitization affects the strategic decisions and performance of firms.
Effects of relative pay on effort and labour supply are being examined in the context of an Indian manufacturing plant where co-workers' wages are exogenously varied. Results forthcoming.