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.

2017
Martínez A, C., Puentes, E.

Using a randomized control trial, we evaluated the effect of a financial literacy program on the level of debt and on formal access to credit in Chile. We use a sample of beneficiaries of a publicly run micro-entrepreneurship program. We evaluated the program using administrative data with information on the debt level, interest rates, and new loans provided by the formal sector. The program tends to decreased debt level in the short run while increasing the probability of having formal debt.

2017
Eesley, C., Wu, L.

Entrepreneurial activity is an important source of innovation in information technology products and services. Prior literature suggests that IT innovators should be agile, adaptive, willing to change direction frequently, and acquiring the necessary resources to facilitate the change. Social networks have been suggested as essential for acquiring information and resources and therefore in facilitating the venture development process.

2017
Fairlie, R.W.

For young firms, the effect of business training on hiring a first employee remains ambiguous, and more research is needed to understand the relationships behind job creation by entrepreneurs.

2017
Wagner, R.A.

Financial models assume startups learn from feedback, but it is hard to test it empirically. First, because demand and supply of information are endogenous. Second, because business education and acceleration bundle feedback with confounding treatments. This paper is the first randomized experiment testing how unsolicited written feedback impacts fundraising of high-stakes entrepreneurs. All 88 teams entered a global accelerator and received $40,000. A random half of them additionally received feedback to business-plans.

2017
Atkin, D., Chaudhry, A., Chaudry, S., Khandelwal, A.

This article studies technology adoption in a cluster of soccer-ball producers in Sialkot, Pakistan. We invented a new cutting technology that reduces waste of the primary raw material and gave the technology to a random subset of producers. Despite the clear net benefits for nearly all firms, after 15 months take-up remained puzzlingly low.

2017
Brudevold-Newman, A., Honorati, M., Jakiela, P., Ozier, O.

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.

2017
McKenzie, D., Paruzzolo, S.

A 5-day enterprise training programme for women in Kenya. Results forthcoming.

2017
Clingingsmith, D., Shane, S.

Accredited investors finance more than 75,000 U.S. startups annually. We explain how training aspiring entrepreneurs to pitch their new business ideas to these investors affects their odds of continued funding discussions. We model accredited investors’ decision to continue investigation as a real option whose value is a function of their experience and the information contained in the entrepreneurs’ pitches. We derive four hypotheses from the model, which we test through a field experiment that randomly assigns pitch training at four elevator pitch competitions.

2017
Banerjee, A., V., Breza, E., Duflo, E., Kinnan, C.

Can improved access to credit jump-start microenterprise growth? We examine subjects in urban Hyderabad, India, six years after microfinance–an intervention commonly believed to lower the cost of credit and spark business creation–was randomly introduced to a subset of neighborhoods. We find large benefits both in business scale and performance from giving “gung-ho entrepreneurs” (GEs)–those who started a business before microfinance entered–more access to microfinance. Notably, these effects persist two years after microfinance was withdrawn from Hyderabad.

2016
Bulte, E., Lensink, R., Vu, N.

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.

2016
Åstebro, T., Hoos, F.

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.

2016
Bradler, C., Dur, R., Neckermann, S., and Non, A.

In the context of a basic, short-term data entry job, unannounced provision of public recognition to employees yielded an economically significant increase in performance. Results suggest that recognition works best when it is provided exclusively, but not too exclusively. The performance increases in exclusive recognition are mainly driven by strong positive responses of non-recipients, which is most likely due to conformity preferences.

2016
Boudreau, K., Lakhani, K.

Field experiments have the potential to provide unambiguous causal evidence on innovation topics while simultaneously assisting organisations with their innovation.

2016
Bechtold, S., Buccafusco, C., Sprigman, C. J.

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.

2016
Boudreau, K., Lakhani, K., Menietti, M.

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.

2016
Schaner, S.

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.

2016
Gallus, J.

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.

2016
Boudreau, K., Guinan, E., Lakhani, K., Riedl, C.

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.

2016
Field, E., Jayachandran, S., Pande, R., Rigol, N.

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.

2015
Ganguli, I., Huysentruyt, M., Le Coq, C.

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.

2015
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.

2015
Åstebro, T., Vulkan, N.

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.

2015
Cole, S., Joshi, M., Schoar, A.

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.

2015
Schoar, A.

This experiment in Colombia will test the impact of a business training programme. Results forthcoming.

2015
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.

2015
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.

2015
Duflo, E., Crepon, B., Huillery, E., Pariente, W.

Creajeunes offers support to young people from poorer neighbourhoods to get them involved in entrepreneurship. Results forthcoming.

2015
Nathan, M., Overman, H., Olmo, S.

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). 

2015
Fischer, G., Karlan, D.

A business skills training intervention for SME owners and managers in metro Manila, the Philippines. Results forthcoming.

2015
Assaf, N., Cusolito, A.P., McKenzie, D.

Matching grants are one of the most common types of private sector development programs used in developing countries. But government subsidies to private firms can be controversial. A key question is that of additionality: do these programs get firms to undertake innovative activities that they would not otherwise do, or merely subsidize activities that would take place anyway? Randomized controlled trials can provide the counterfactual needed to answer this question, but efforts to experiment with matching grant programs have often failed.

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