This paper focuses on the evaluation of frontier scientific research projects and argues that the intellectual distance between the knowledge embodied in research proposals and an evaluator's own expertise systematically relates to the evaluations given.
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.
Field experiments have the potential to provide unambiguous causal evidence on innovation topics while simultaneously assisting organisations with their innovation.
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.
In the context of online developer tournaments this study found that added rivalry is likely to induce higher performance given that failing to exert effort will reduce the likelihood of winning a prize. Tournament organizers can leverage contest size, dividing competitors by ability, and opening entry to all, as policy tools to manipulate the performance of competitors, particularly when changes allow the reallocation of prize money.
Women may face more constraints than men to becoming entrepreneurs, but are not poor entrepreneurs. A potentially important factor limiting financial inclusion efforts is inadequate peer support among many women who have potential as entrepreneurs.
All creativity and innovation build on existing ideas. Authors and inventors copy, adapt, improve, interpret, and refine the ideas that have come before them. The central task of intellectual property (IP) law is regulating this sequential innovation to ensure that initial creators and subsequent creators receive the appropriate sets of incentives. Although many scholars have applied the tools of economic analysis to consider whether IP law is successful in encouraging cumulative innovation, that work has rested on a set of untested assumptions about creators’ behavior.
I use a field experiment in rural Kenya to study how temporary incentives to save impact long run economic outcomes. Study participants randomly selected to receive large temporary interest rates on an individual bank account had significantly more income and assets 2.5 years after the interest rates expired. These changes are much larger than the short-run impacts on experimental bank account use and almost entirely driven by growth in entrepreneurship.
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.
A loan programme for SMEs in the Philippines. Results forthcoming.
In order 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.
Evaluation of a training and consulting program for managerial staff in Bangladeshi garment factories to understand how new management practices are adopted and implemented and what determines their success.
This experiment in Colombia will test the impact of a business training programme. Results forthcoming.
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.
Crowdfunding is a recent and rapidly growing method of raising funds for early-stage companies. It minimises the cost and effort involved in raising start-up funds compared to traditional equity funding methods such as venture capital investment. Very little systematic, non-survey research has been conducted into these methods of funding new ventures, however. ‘The wisdom of crowds in equity crowdfunding’ aims to fill this gap.
An online platform for contract enforcement in the Peruvian textile sector. Results forthcoming.
Microentrepreneurs in developing countries face complex financial management challenges. Many entrepreneurs do not have the financial skills to address these challenges and traditional classroom-based financial training has not been shown effective in changing behavior or improving financial outcomes. What is the most effective way to equip microentrepreneurs with the necessary skills to address their financial management challenges? Traditional financial education curricula have shown very mixed results for improving knowledge and financial practices among microentrepreneurs.
Evaluating a specific training program for youth in Uganda, recently graduated from secondary shool, aimed at identifying the differential importance of "hard" and "soft" skills. Results forthcoming.
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.
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.
In the context of SME's in Colombia, researchers are evaluating the impact on firm performance of a legal reform which will provide a framework for the use and enforcement of movable collateral. Results forthcoming.
Examines the differential impacts of group management consulting versus individualised management consulting on firm performace in Colombia, and whether management practices are partially responsible for the gap in firm productivity in developing countries. Results forthcoming.
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.
Working with one of the largest tech incubators in the UK, this trial will deploy a multi-site RCT in two different cities. After pre-selection, entry into the incubator will be randomised for 100 firms per site. The experiment will then explore post-treatment outcomes including survival, recombination, and changes in post-treatment revenue, employment and level of external finance raised.
Using interviews and surveys we will also explore whether different parts of the treatment vary in their effectiveness (e.g. mentoring versus peer to peer interactions).
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.
This RCT will pilot Self-Accelerated Startups (SAS), a new peer-selection based entrepreneurship support model for idea-stage companies and student startups that uses collective bootstrapping on the lines of self-help groups in the social sector. In this model, prospective entrepreneurs meet regularly in groups for a pre-defined mentorship period and make small monthly contributions to a “seed fund”. At the end of this phase, the self-mobilized corpus is awarded as startup capital to one or two members by the rest of the peer group in return for equity in these startups.
Many resources, such as business acumen are thought to feed into entrepreneurial success. However, an open question is whether the tools and frameworks available to nascent startups are causally related to their successes in the areas of financing, employment and revenue growth, valuations, etc. In this study, we use a large-scale RCT to assess the impact of entrepreneurship skills training on startup decisions and outcomes across the U.S. In the study, startups associated co-working spaces are offered payment to complete a series of surveys tracking their outcomes over two years.
Examines the effectiveness of a specific management production routine relying on knowledge transfer of managers in a Bangladeshi garment factory. Results forthcoming.
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.
An intervention that allowed randomly selected employees in a Chinese travel agency call centre to work from home appeared to have significant positive effects on worker performance.
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.