This meta-analysis of field experimental evidence on firm-employee relationships finds strong evidence that financial incentive increase output, and that non-financial approaches and social relations also have important impacts. However, many important topics have not been studied yet using field experiments, including recruiting, worker promotion, and training.
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.
A randomised field experiment in Kenya uses differing levels of subsidies for an innovative bed net to suggest that temporary subsidies help short-term adoption rates of new (health) technologies and can perhaps have an effect on long-term adoption rates due to the learning experience.
In the context of a semiconductor factory in Israel, experimenting with different types of incentives yielded results that provide some guidance for organisations trying to motivate their employees, showing that incentives of small magnitude can motivate employees to perform better at low or insignificant cost. Also, simply allowing employees to choose their preferred form of incentive can neutralize the possible negative effect of cash bonuses on intrinsic motivation.
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.
This entrepreneurship education programme with final year primary school students in the Netherlands showed significant effects on student's non-cognitive entrepreneurial skills following the intervention.
Entrepreneurship programmes have a strong positive effect on youths, particularly on labour-market activities and business-practice outcomes, and improve business knowledge and practice, particularly for existing entrepreneurs. However, there is no evidence that this translates into improved business performance and increased income.
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.
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.
A business and financial literacy programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina showed no effect on business survival but appeared to have some limited effects on improving participant's business practices.
Does limited access to formal savings services impede business growth in poor countries? To shed light on this question, we randomized access to noninterest-bearing bank accounts among two types of self-employed individuals in rural Kenya: market vendors (who are mostly women) and men working as bicycle taxi drivers. Despite large withdrawal fees, a substantial share of market women used the accounts, were able to save more, and increased their productive investment and private expenditures. We see no impact for bicycle taxi drivers.
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.
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.
In the context of a lab experiment replicating the job/hiring market, this study reveals that prior to affirmative action, women, including high-performing women, fail to enter the competition, thus the actual performance costs of affirmitive action are negligible. This implies that the long-term effects are positive, as increasing the representation of "minorities" may improve mentoring possibilities, and change the perception of "minorities'" ability to hold a high-ranking position.
A management consultancy intervention in Mexico, focusing on firm growth, showed a positive impact on firm productivity in the short term and amount of employees (and overall wage bill) in the long term, as compared with the control group.
This management-focused consultancy intervention in the Indian textile industry showed positive impact on overall firm productivity through improved quality, efficiency and reduced inventory, and the effects of the experiment appeared to continue over time.
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.
Evaluation of two different entrepreneurship training programmes and access to certain types of capital in Colombia. Preliminary results available. Main results forthcoming.
While research is advancing quickly in the area of business training and entrepreneurship evaluations in the developing world, many of the effects are still unknown and are highly dependent on the context.
A university-based entrepreneurship training in Tunisia which appeared to have impact on participants behaviours and skills but no significant impact on increasing their self-employment.
In the context of knitwear and rolled steel clusters in Vietnam, preliminary short-run impacts of KAIZEN production training reveal positive impacts on entrepreneurs' management knowledge, firms business practices, and willingness-to-pay for the training. Researchers will evaluate the long-run results including a cost-benefit analysis.
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.
In the context of a commercial lending bank in Colombia, a behaviourally-sensitive incentive scheme led to significantly positive effects on performance and worker well-being, and results suggest that incentives alone were not sufficient to help overcome prior performance and worker well-being issues.
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.
In the context urban Sri Lanka the challenge in getting female-owned, subsistence-level microenterprises to grow may lie outside the realm of capital and skills. Results of the training and capital access intervention are somewhat more encouraging in terms of helping women who are outside the labour force to start enterprises more quickly.
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.
In this lab experiment intended to recreate sorting into jobs and productivity in those jobs within the labour market, there is stong evidence of multidimensional sorting, including gender, risk attitudes, and productivity. Therefore, firms should consider both effort effects and the self-selection of different types of workers.
Most academic and development policy discussions about microentrepreneurs focus on credit constraints and assume that subject to those constraints, the entrepreneurs manage their business optimally. Yet the self-employed poor rarely have any formal training in business skills. A growing number of microfinance organizations are attempting to build the human capital of microentrepreneurs in order to improve the livelihood of their clients and help further their mission of poverty alleviation.
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.
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.
In the context of a fruit producer in the UK, social connections increase productivity of connected workers, but their effect on the allocation of managerial effort hinders firm productivity under fixed wages. Thus managerial behaviour is shaped by both social connections with subordinates and monetary incentives. In this setting, it is in the firm's best interest to foster social ties between management and workers, but to introduce monetary incentives to achieve an efficient interplay between social relationships and incentives.