Whose problems do investors see as worth solving? I experimentally study how investors evaluate a startup idea based on the socioeconomic background of the founder, the target customer, and the (in)congruence between the two. I am also interested in how the socioeconomic background of investors themselves affect these evaluations. I aim to contribute to the research on diversity and inequality in entrepreneurial funding in which socioeconomic backgrounds have been relatively understudied.
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.
We evaluate the impact of a training program aimed at improving the relational atmosphere in the workplace. The program encourages prosocial behavior and the use of professional language, focusing primarily on leaders’ behavior and leader-subordinate interactions. We implement this program using a clustered randomized design involving over 3,000 headquarters employees of 20 large corporations in Turkey. We evaluate the program with respect to employee separation, pro- and antisocial behavior, the prevalence of support networks, and perceived workplace climate.
We use a field experiment to test whether financial incentives can improve the quality of apprenticeship training. Trainers (firm owners) in the treatment group participated in a tournament incentive scheme where they received a payment based on their apprentices’ rank-order performance on a skills assessment. Trainers in the control group received a fixed payment based on their apprentices’ participation in the assessment. Performance on the assessment was higher in the treatment group.
Women are underrepresented in patenting and the gap is not closing quickly. One major roadblock to progress is a dearth of causal evidence on the potential effectiveness of policies to reduce the gender gap in patenting. Analyzing a randomized control trial at the United States Patent and Trademark Office that was designed to provide additional help to applicants who do not have legal representation, we find heterogeneous causal impacts across gender and technologies on the probability of obtaining patent rights.
By enabling smaller loans, broader geographic reach, and less human bias in decision-making, process automation may reduce racial disparities in access to financial services. We find evidence for all three channels in a setting where private lenders faced no credit risk but decided who to serve: the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provided loans to small businesses during COVID-19. Black-owned firms disproportionately obtained their PPP loans from fintech lenders, especially in areas with high racial animus.
This project is a collaboration with Corner to Corner to study the impact of their entrepreneurship training course on financial stability. Corner to Corner, a Nashville-based nonprofit, is focused on their mission of helping their neighbors to flourish and addressing the racial wealth gap. One of their primary programs is The Academy, a 10-week entrepreneurship training course that teaches students the fundamentals of starting and operating their own business.
We seek to understand what is limiting women's access to finance, in particular for highly skilled start-up entrepreneurs. To investigate supply side constraints, we run a lab-in-the-field experiment in which loan officers in Uganda evaluate several business ideas based on real pitch decks from start-ups. We separate biases in idea evaluation from other constraints (such as gender specific differences in the ability to implement a project, or in external constraints that start-up entrepreneurs are facing).
This lab-in-the-field experiment will measure the gender bias in entrepreneurship and investment among youth and credit officers in Ethiopia. Chigign Tobiya “Ethiopia Emerges” is a television show in Ethiopia where entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of business tycoons for a chance to get investment funding.
The federal government and many individual organizations have invested in programs to support diversity in the STEM pipeline, including STEM summer programs for high school students, but there is little rigorous evidence of their efficacy. We fielded a randomized controlled trial to study a suite of such programs targeted to underrepresented high school students at an elite, technical institution. The STEM summer programs differ in their length (one week, six weeks, or six months) and modality (on-site or online).
This project evaluated the impact of a program aiming to improve the workplace climate in corporations.
The gender financing gap persists. Women-led startups raise significantly less capital than startups led by only men. That number has hardly budged over the past decade — despite the fact that data continues to suggest that women-led startups outperform startups with all-men founding teams.For investors, focusing on only a fraction of all entrepreneurs means they leave significant opportunities for returns on the table. For startups, this gender financing gap means promising innovations do not receive the resources they need to scale.
This paper studies the role of diversity and performance in the entrepreneurial teams.
This paper reports on a large platform-based field experiment in which 97,696 U.S. university-educated individuals were given the opportunity to join a tech-related product development activity.
This trial investigates the best way to help agents perform better, as firms providing products and services to low income Base of the Pyramid (BOP) customers are increasingly utilizing independent contractor agents rather than employees in their distribution models.
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.
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.
This paper tests the role of three behavioral biases: present bias, limited memory, and overconfidence about memory.
Lack of secular economic opportunity is believed to be related to social unrest, engagement in terrorism, and association with radical groups. In conflict areas, difficulties accessing economic opportunity and employment are often exacerbated by movement restrictions and investor concerns about safety of physical plant and other capital investments that might enhance employment opportunities. Recent advances in cloud-computing and software-driven services present the promise of a solution through cloud-based entrepreneurial activity.
We study gender and race in high-impact entrepreneurship within a tightly controlled random field experiment. We sent out 80,000 pitch emails introducing promising but fictitious start-ups to 28,000 venture capitalists and business angels. Each email was sent by a fictitious entrepreneur with a randomly selected gender (male or female) and race (Asian or White). Female entrepreneurs received an 8% higher rate of interested replies than male entrepreneurs pitching identical projects. Asian entrepreneurs received a 6% higher rate than White entrepreneurs.
While prior research shows a significant gender gap in traditional equity financing, with mostly male investors who prefer male founders, emerging evidence indicates that gender gaps in funding may not translate to rewards-based crowdfunding, where female entrepreneurs may have an advantage, particularly with female investors. We seek to examine founder gender preferences in the context of equity crowdfunding, which represents a direct counterpart to traditional equity financing and which is a “higher-stakes” context than rewards-based crowdfunding.
This study draws on social learning theory and research concerning role model effects to understand how exposure to female entrepreneurial role models influences the development of entrepreneurial self-efficacy, attitudes and intentions among female students. The results presented are from a field experiment including data from 547 students and 98 entrepreneurs.
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.
A 5-day enterprise training programme for women in Kenya. Results forthcoming.
This study presents results from a randomized evaluation of two labor market interventions targeted to young women aged 18 to 19 years in three of Nairobi's poorest neighborhoods. One treatment offered participants a bundled intervention designed to simultaneously relieve credit and human capital constraints; a second treatment provided women with an unrestricted cash grant, but no training or other support.
This trial evaluates the impact of a business training for female clients of a microfinance institution in northern Vietnam, and considers the impact on business knowledge, practices, and outcomes, as well as firm entry and exit decisions.
We use two sequential RCTs to study the impact of a twice-executed six-month intensive training program costing about 12,000 euros per participant to encourage social entrepreneurship among youth. The first year training effort provided no robust treatment effects. Results were used to redesign and improve the training. The second year effort provided treatment effects on venture actions, venture creation, one leadership characteristic, one non-cognitive skill, and on subsequent work experience in startups.
This paper examines the persuasiveness of delivery in start-up pitches.
This study aims to carry out an evaluation of the long-term impacts of an innovative school-based intervention designed to enhance the ability of youth to engage and succeed in both formal employment and entrepreneurial activities in Uganda, ultimately leading to improvements in livelihood. The findings will inform future interventions (in Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya) to help more young people overcome obstacles to successful entrepreneurship and labor market participation, such as gender-related barriers, thereby improving their livelihoods and socioeconomic security.
Programs targeting micro businesses have become increasingly common in developing countries, particularly because micro enterprises employ a substantial fraction of individuals in these economies (about 47 percent in Mexico) and because the majority of these micro enterprises tend to stay small and have low productivity Many programs aimed at fostering the growth of micro and small businesses have focused on providing credits or offering business and financial training, since access to credit and lack of managerial skills are believed to limit the success of this type of businesses (Bruhn e
Creajeunes offers support to young people from poorer neighbourhoods to get them involved in entrepreneurship. Results forthcoming.