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.

2019
Ubfal, D., Arraiz, I., Beuermann, D., Frese, M., Maffioli, A., Verch, D.

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 argue that the main channel is increased adoption of recommended business practices, exclusively observed in the short run. We see persistent effects on an incentivized behavioral measure of perseverance after setbacks, a focus of this training.

2019
Buehren, N., Frese, M., Goldstein, M.

This study conducted two randomized controlled trials to evaluate the effect of mindset-oriented business trainings on the performance of women-owned micro and small enterprises in Ethiopia.

2019
Gornall, W., and I. A. Strebulaev

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.

2019
Minni, V., Bandiera, O., Ashraf, N.

Differences in productivity may be driven by heterogeneity in skills but also the extent to which individuals are motivated to do their job over and above financial compensation. The proposed research will unpack the sources of intrinsic motivation and test whether these can be leveraged to increase productivity. To do so we will run a cross-country field experiment in collaboration with a multinational company that offers one-day workshops that guide employees on how to connect their individual purpose with their work.

2019
Bjorvatn, K., Cappelem, A., Helgesson Sekei, L., Ø. Sørensen, E., Tungodden, B.

This field experiment involved more than 2,000 secondary school students, where the treatment group was incentivised to watch an edutainment show.

2019
Burnette, J. L., Pollack, J. M., Forsyth, R. B.

Despite mounting interest in growth mindset interventions, this approach has yet to be applied to the domain of entrepreneurship. In the present research, we developed and tested if a growth mindset intervention could be leveraged to promote students’ entrepreneurial self-efficacy and if this, in turn, predicted career development (i.e., academic interest, career interest, task persistence, and academic performance). We report on our findings, from an Open Science Framework (OSF) preregistered study, that is a randomized controlled trial implementing a growth mindset intervention.

2019
Tobro, T., Ulltveit-Moe, K., H., Moxnes, A.

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? 

2019
Shane, S., Clingingsmith D., Drover W., and Cerf M.

We explore how variation in entrepreneurs' displayed passion affects informal investor interest in start-up ventures by examining neural responses to entrepreneurs' pitches using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). We find that founders displaying high passion increase investor neural engagement by 39% and investor interest in the venture by 26% over those displaying low passion. A one standard deviation increase in neural engagement is associated with an 8% percent increase in investors' interest in investing in a start-up company relative to the mean.

2019
Bapna, S., Ganco, M., and Qiu, L.

User entrepreneurs are responsible for the most important innovations in many industries, but little research has explored the performance of firms founded by user entrepreneurs. While user entrepreneurs have a deep knowledge of customer needs that facilitates the identification of innovative solutions, they tend to lack the relevant business knowledge (e.g., market, production, operational and organizational) to successfully exploit opportunities and grow their ventures.

2019
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.

2019
Bouguen, A., Frölich, M., Hörner, D., Wollni, M.

In this study we assess the effects of a decentralized extension program and an additional video intervention on the adoption of integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) among 2,382 farmers in Ethiopia using a randomized controlled trial. ISFM should enhance soil fertility and productivity by combining organic and inorganic soil amendments. We find that both extension-only and extension combined with video increase ISFM adoption and knowledge.

2019
Custodio, C., Merges, D., Metzger, D.

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.

2019
Gambardella, A., Camuffo, A., Cordova, A.

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.

2019
de Mel, S., McKenzie, D., Woodruff, C.

A field experiment in Sri Lanka provided wage subsidies to randomly chosen microenterprises to test whether hiring additional labor benefits such firms, and whether a short-term subsidy can have a lasting impact on firm employment. Using 12 rounds of surveys to track dynamics four years after treatment, we find that firms increased employment during the subsidy period. Treated firms were more likely to survive, but there was no lasting impact on employment, and no effect on profitability or sales either during or after the subsidy period.

2019
Meager, R.

In this paper, meager jointly estimates the average effect and the heterogeneity in effects across seven studies using Bayesian hierarchical models.

2018
Iacovone, L., Maloney, W., McKenzie, D.

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.

2018
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.

2018
Dalton, P., Pamuk, H., Ramrattan, R., van Soest, D., Uras, B.

What determines the adoption of electronic-payment instruments? Do these instruments impact business outcomes, in particular access to finance? To shed light on these questions, we conducted a Randomized-Controlled-Trial with Kenyan SMEs. Our experiment released barriers to adopt a novel payment instrument. We uncover that the adoption barriers were binding for a large portion of the firms and that firms' financial transparency interacted with the decision to adopt. After sixteen months, treated businesses were more likely to feel safe and had more loans.

2018
Dalton, P., Zia, B., Rüschenpöhler, J., Uras, B.

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.

2018
Martínez A., C., Puentes, E., Ruiz-Tagle, J.

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.

2018
Thompson, N., Hanley, D.

As the largest encyclopedia in the world, it is not surprising that Wikipedia reflects the state of scientific knowledge. However, Wikipedia is also one of the most accessed websites in the world, including by scientists, which suggests that it also has the potential to shape science. This paper shows that it does. Incorporating ideas into Wikipedia leads to those ideas being used more in the scientific literature.

2018
Barsoum, G., Crépon, B., Gardiner, D., Michel, B., Parienté, W.

This trial measures the impact of an edutainment program specifically designed to promote entrepreneurship among young adult viewers in Egypt.

2018
Aghion, P., Bechtold, S., Cassar, L., Herz, H.

We design two laboratory experiments to analyze the causal effects of competition on step-by-step innovation. Innovations result from costly R&D investments and move technology up one step. Competition is inversely measured by the ex post rents for firms that operate at the same technological level, that is, for neck-and-neck firms. First, we find that increased competition leads to a significant increase in R&D investments by neck-and-neck firms.

2018
Lafortune, J., Riutort, J., Tessada, J.

Using a randomized experiment in Chile we study the impact role models have in the context of a training program for micro-entrepreneurs. We show that being in a group randomly chosen to be visited by a successful alumnus of the program increases household income one year after, mostly due to increased business participation and business income.

2018
Bechthold, L., Rosendahl Huber, L.

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. We present results from a field experiment including data from 547 students and 98 entrepreneurs.

2018
McKenzie, D., Cusolito, A. P., Dautovic, E.

Many innovative start-ups and small and medium-size enterprises have good ideas, but do not have these ideas fine-tuned to the stage where they can attract outside funding. Investment readiness programs attempt to help firms to become ready to attract and accept outside equity funding through a combination of training, mentoring, master classes, and networking.

2018
Shamdasani Y., Kaur S., Breza, E.

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.

2018
Barham, B.L., Chavas, J.P., Fitz, D., and Schechter, L.

We construct a model of technology adoption with agents differing on two dimensions: their cognitive ability and their receptiveness to advice. While cognitive ability unambiguously speeds adoption, receptiveness to advice may speed adoption for individuals with low cognitive ability, but slow adoption for individuals with high cognitive ability. We conduct economic experiments measuring US farmers' cognitive ability and receptiveness to advice and examine how these characteristics impact their speed of adoption of genetically modified (GM) corn seeds.

2018
Kim, H.

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

2018
Graff Zivin, J., Lyons, E.

Existing theories and empirical research on how innovation occurs largely assume that innovativeness is an inherent characteristic of the individual and that people with this innate ability select into jobs that require it. In this paper, we investigate whether people who do not self-select into being innovators can be induced to innovate, and whether they innovate differently than those who do self-select into innovating.

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