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.
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.
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.
A loan programme for SMEs in the Philippines. Results forthcoming.
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.
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).
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.
An online platform for contract enforcement in the Peruvian textile sector. Results forthcoming.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Growth Impact Pilot, launched in April 2014, is a research project on the impact of business advice (coaching), supported by the UK Government. The Growth Impact Pilot will assess whether the provision of Growth Accelerator coaching is the reason why firms on the service achieve high rates of growth, or whether this growth would have happened anyway. It is designed to assess the impact of coaching by comparing two groups:
Examines the effectiveness of a specific management production routine relying on knowledge transfer of managers in a Bangladeshi garment factory. Results forthcoming.
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.
This study reports on a randomized field experiment conducted in the Netherlands to estimate the (long-term) effect of a short personalized tax training program on the performance and tax compliance of first-time entrepreneurs. The tax training was expected to have an impact on business performance and different aspects of tax compliance through better financial decision making and more relevant tax knowledge.
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
Some firms say they care about the well-being and “happiness” of their employees. But are such claims hype or scientific good sense? We provide evidence, for a classic piece rate setting, that happiness makes people more productive. In three different styles of experiment, randomly selected individuals are made happier. The treated individuals have approximately 12% greater productivity. A fourth experiment studies major real-world shocks ðbereavement and family illnessÞ. Lower happiness is systematically associated with lower productivity.
Micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries are often constraint by inefficient supply chains, facing high travel costs and high prices in purchasing their inventory. At the same time, due to their small scale, they buy in small quantities, limiting their benefit from economies of scale, whether in bulk discounts or transport efficiencies. Small-scale food vendors in Bogotá, whose customers are residents of low-income neighborhoods, face these very issues.
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.
We propose to implement and evaluate a soft-skills training program among mid- and upper-level managers in textile factories in India. The goal of the intervention and evaluation is to investigate constraints to firm performance due to managerial human capital, and to contribute to the understanding of how improved management can translate into better working conditions for workers. We will evaluate this program through a multi-step randomized controlled trial in 41 factories operated by a large textile firm based in Bangalore, India.
The policy measure aims at an increased R&D and innovation capabilities of SMEs by fostering collaboration with public research institutions and RTOs, improving knowledge transfer and by strengthening quality and relevance of public R&D. The Innovation Voucher has been introduced to inspire SMEs to utilise the opportunities and potential of knowledge institutions. At the same time, the Innovation Voucher Scheme is expected to enhance the awareness at knowledge institutions of the need for knowledge and thus secure the quality and societal relevance of public research.
Firms may face short term barriers when deciding to become exporters. Their production costs may be too high to compete with international prices, or they may perceive quality standard testing to be too risky of an investment. At the same time, the Tunisian government is keen to see more firms become exporters, tapping into international markets for further growth. The government wishes to see its firms produce higher value-added goods.
The Good Exporting Practices program in Argentina aims to increase the success in the foreign markets of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through supporting better practices in 7 core areas: i) strategy, ii) identification and segmentation of markets, iii) design and adaptation of the product, iv) production, v) communication, vi) distribution, and vii) administration. The Good Exporting Practices program targets firms that produce differentiated food products in various geographical regions in Argentina.
This on-going project explores how much market protection patents provide. This is being tested in a randomized control trial, where a partner company is abandoning or maintaining patent protection based on whether that patent is in the treatment or control group. We are then analyzing market outcomes for the related products.
By randomising the information sent to potential investors on AngelList over e-mail, this experiment finds evidence that the founding team of a startup has strong influence over the investor's decision to invest.
A randomized controlled trial of short-term management training for small manufacturers was conducted in two study sites in Vietnam and collected follow-up data repeatedly for
two years to assess longer-term impacts than the existing studies of management training.
In the context of an online software development tournament, intermediate disclosure policy increased information and signaling in
the innovation environment. Final disclosure promoted higher levels of entry and effort and independent experimentation; while it generated a diversity of approaches, this led to considerable effort devoted to suboptimal approaches and overall performance achieved.
Workers who sort into institutional settings they prefer may work twice (or many more times) as hard in these preferred settings. This productivity effect is especially important in institutional settings where a taste for competition is strongest.