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.

Heite, J., Rosendahl Huber L., Kleine, M.

The Innovation Voucher Program analyzed in this study operates as a randomized controlled trial (RCT). This allows estimating the causal effect of the voucher on innovation and growth measures of beneficiaries, as well as their business outcomes in general. As a result, the evidence might be used to enhance voucher schemes and to provide further policy advice on how to effectively support small and medium-sized enterprises and their innovation activities in the future.

Boudreau, K., Lakhani, K.

In the context of an online software development tournament, intermediate disclosure policy increased information and signaling in
the innovation environment. Final disclosure promoted higher levels of entry and effort and independent experimentation; while it generated a diversity of approaches, this led to considerable effort devoted to suboptimal approaches and overall performance achieved.


Organizations that depend on voluntary contributions face unique managerial challenges. In this project, we examine whether emphasizing the salience of project output (i.e., project outcome) or project input (i.e., labor costs) affect the quantity and quality of contributions using a randomized field experiment on the world's largest crowd science platform. We manipulate whether participants receive information that emphasizes their contribution to the eventual outcome of a task or information that emphasizes their contribution to the labor required for a task.

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.

Schneider, C.

The policy measure aims at an increased R&D and innovation capabilities of SMEs by fostering collaboration with public research institutions and RTOs, improving knowledge transfer and by strengthening quality and relevance of public R&D. The Innovation Voucher has been introduced to inspire SMEs to utilise the opportunities and potential of knowledge institutions. At the same time, the Innovation Voucher Scheme is expected to enhance the awareness at knowledge institutions of the need for knowledge and thus secure the quality and societal relevance of public research.

Banal-Estañol, A., Pérez-Castrillo, D., Losa, V.

What is the impact of different types of knowledge transfer activities on the number and quality of business-science interactions? Motivated by the “European Paradox” (top-notch academic research but much weaker business-science links), this trial will test the impact of two interventions to raise awareness of academic research and connect it to businesses.

Ganguli, I., Catalini, C.

How do different types of proximity impact collaboration and knowledge generation? How should we design research campuses to maximize the probability of breakthrough innovation taking place? Although information and communication technology has substantially lowered the cost of remote interactions, physical space and geographic proximity still play a major role in inventive activity. This project will explore how a research-intensive academic campus should be designed to increase the probability of breakthrough innovations taking place.

Kuhn, J.M., Thompson, N.

Competition between firms to invent and patent an idea, or “patent racing,” has been much discussed in theory, but seldom analyzed empirically. This article introduces an empirical way to identify patent races, and provides the first broad-based view of them in the real world. It reveals that patent races are common, particularly in information-technology fields. The analysis is then extended to get the causal impact of winning a patent race, using a regression-discontinuity approach.

Celhay, P., Gertler, P., Giovagnoli, P., Vermeersch, C.

The adoption of new clinical practice patterns by medical care providers is often challenging, even when they are believed to be both efficacious and profitable. This paper uses a randomized field experiment to examine the effects of temporary financial incentives paid to medical care clinics for the initiation of prenatal care in the first trimester of pregnancy. The rate of early initiation of prenatal care was 34% higher in the treatment group than in the control group while the incentives were being paid, and this effect persisted at least 24 months or more after the incentives ended.

Knight, A., Baer M.

Interpersonal effects of physical space indirectly affect performance for group engaged in knowledge work. Physical space shapes performance indirectly by affecting group members' arousal and territorial behaviour, which together influence information elaboration. The physical context in which a group works can shape interpersonal dynamics and ultimately group performance.

Bakhshi, H., Edwards, J., Roper, S., Scully, J., Shaw, D., Morley, L., Rathbone, N.

A voucher programme for SMEs in Manchester, UK, to invest in creative projects showed significant positive, but short-term, effects on innovation and sales growth.

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.

Boudreau, K., Guinan, E., Lakhani, K., Riedl, C.

This experiment in the context of medical research grants indicates a discount of novelty in research proposals, which may be due to evaluators internalising the average effects of novelty for potential concerns about the lower success rates. However, this censoring of novel projects means that experiments never get a chance to be run and thus the benefits of generating greater diversity of experiments are curtailed. This is of concern to policy makers and society because research funds are being allocated towards more incremental research as compared to high variability and potentially breakthrough efforts.

Davis, P. M.

Does free access to journal articles result in greater diffusion of scientific knowledge? Using a randomized controlled trial of open access publishing, involving 36 participating journals in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, we report on the effects of free access on article downloads and citations. Articles placed in the open access condition (n=712) received significantly more downloads and reached a broader audience within the first year, yet were cited no more frequently, nor earlier, than subscription-access control articles (n=2533) within 3 yr.

Engle-Warnick, J., Escobal, J., Laszlo, S.

The lack of adoption of new farming technologies despite known benefits is a well-documented phenomenon in development economics. In addition to a number of market constraints, risk aversion predominates the discussion of behavioral determinants of technology adoption. We hypothesize that ambiguity aversion may also be a determinant, since farmers may have less information about the distribution of yield outcomes from new technologies compared with traditional technologies. We test this hypothesis with a laboratory experiment in the field in which we measure risk and ambiguity preferences.

Baer, M., Leenders, R., Oldham, G., Vadera, A.

A laboratory experiment with undergraduate students in a US university explores the effects of intergroup competition and changes in group membership on creativity and collaboration.

Cornet, M., Vroomen, B., van der Steeg, M.

An innovation voucher scheme in the Netherlands appears to successfully encourage SMEs to work with public research institutes on innovative projects.