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.

Carson, R., Graff Zivin, J.S., Louviere, J., Sadoff, S., Shrader Jr, J.G.

This experiment tries to understand how managers respond to uncertainty when making research and development decisions. Three experiments were conducted with master’s degree students in a program focused on the intersection of business and technology.

Van den Berg, G.J., Dauth, C., Homrighausen, P., Stephan, G.

Using survey and register data, this experiment estimates the effects of the information treatment brochure on awareness of WeGebAU, on take-up of WeGebAU and other training, and on subsequent employment.

Gallus, J., Jung, O.S., Lakhani, K.

This paper explores what might motivate employees to participate in internal crowdsourcing, a peer-based approach to innovation.

Muehlfeld, K., Rigtering, C., Weitzel, U.

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.

Kim, H.

This project aims to understand how increased access to competitor information enabled by digitization affects the strategic decisions and performance of firms.

McKenzie, D., Pouliquen, V., Benhassine, N., Santini, M.

Examines a program in Benin that drastically reduces costs to formalize a business, while also offering tax mediation and training. Results forthcoming.

Ebert, C., Prabhu, J., KC, R.

This study explores how individuals develop habitual perspectives from repetitive tasks they enact over time, and how these deeply ingrained habits of perspective influence creativity. Further, this study proposes that habits of perspective are resistant to the creativity-stunting effect of financial incentives.

Gallus, J.

This natural field experiment tests the effects of purely symbolic awards on volunteer retention in a public goods context. The experiment is conducted at Wikipedia, which faces declining editor retention rates, particularly among newcomers. Randomization assures that award receipt is orthogonal to previous performance. The analysis reveals that awards have a sizeable effect on newcomer retention, which persists over the four quarters following the initial intervention.

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.

Menzel, A.

Examines the effectiveness of a specific management production routine relying on knowledge transfer of managers in a Bangladeshi garment factory. Results forthcoming.

Boudreau, K., Lakhani, K.

Workers who sort into institutional settings they prefer may work twice (or many more times) as hard in these preferred settings. This productivity effect is especially important in institutional settings where a taste for competition is strongest.

Kaur, S., Kremer, M., Mullainathan, S.

Self-control problems change the logic of agency theory by partly aligning the interests of the firm and worker: both now value contracts that elicit future effort. Findings from a year-long field experiment with full-time data entry workers support this idea. First, workers increase output by voluntarily choosing dominated contracts (which penalize low output but give no additional rewards for high output). Second, effort increases closer to (randomly assigned) paydays.

Ganguli, I., Huysentruyt, M., Le Coq, C.

We conducted a field experiment to identify the causal effects of extrinsic incentive cues on the sorting and performance of nascent social entrepreneurs. The experiment, carried out with one of the United Kingdom’s largest support agencies for social entrepreneurs, encouraged 431 nascent social entrepreneurs to submit a full application for a grant competition that provides cash and in-kind mentorship support through a onetime mailing sent by the agency.

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.

Haines, H.

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.

Shue, K.

Using the historical random assignment of MBA students to sections at Harvard Business School (HBS), I explore how executive peer networks can affect managerial decision making. Within an HBS class, firm outcomes are significantly more similar among graduates from the same section than among graduates from different sections, with the strongest effects in executive compensation and acquisitions strategy. I demonstrate the role of ongoing social interactions by showing that peer effects are more than twice as strong in the year following staggered alumni reunions.

Bertrand, M., Karlan, D., Mullainathan S., Shafir E., Zinman, J.

In the context of consumer lending in South Africa, advertising content has significant effects on demand, even relative to price effects. However, it was very difficult to predict the effects of different advertising content, and highlights the psychological premise that context matters.

Nagin, D., Rebitzer, J., Sanders, S., Taylor, L.

In the context of a call centre, behavioural heterogeneity observed through employees shirking when reduced monitoring is introduced has important implications for the design and management of reward systems. Management needs to balance monitoring strategies needed to regulate opportunistic employees with strategies needed to sustain the motivation of the substantial fraction of employees disinclined to shirk.