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.
IGL database (beta)
We investigate the relationship between employees' and managers' training and firm performance using a policy intervention that randomly assigned training support to small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises in the UK accommodation and food service sector. Because the number of firms self‐selected into training exceeded available places, training was randomly assigned to some firms, resulting in a randomized natural experimental design that allowed us to identify the average effect of training on treated firms.
In the context of rug-making in Egypt, the opportunity to export provides evidence that learning-by-exporting occurs, and can lead to production quality and cost improvements.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Evaluation of two different entrepreneurship training programmes and access to certain types of capital in Colombia. Preliminary results available. Main results forthcoming.
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.
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.
In the context of a lab experiment conducted in the field, in Peru, among rural farmers, replicating farmers' technology choices, results suggest that the adoption of modern technologies depend more on farmers' aversion to ambiguity than their aversion to risk.
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 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 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.
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 farming in Malawi, reducing risk did not induce an increase in demand for credit, contrary to theoretical predictions. These results highlight the difficulties in mitigating environmental risks to poor farmers and to increase investments in better technologies.
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.
In the context of microfinance in Sri Lanka, high variance in returns may limit the willingness of banks to lend to microenterprises, but it remains a puzzle why incremental growth and reinvestment remains such a challenges as many firms have exhibited a high level of returns.
This experiment, replicating the selection environment of competitive jobs, suggests that the gender gap could be due in part to men's overconfidence, and men's preferences for performing in competition. Further implications include that a surplus of low-performing men may too often self-select into these jobs while too many high-performing women do not.
In the context of a fruit producer in the UK, the introduction of managerial incentives provides evidence of positive effects on worker productivity. In this context, when managers' pay is linked to the firm's performance, their interests become more aligned with those of the firm, which ultimately translates into stronger alignment of incentives of the workers they manage since the managers can target their efforts to specific workers. This also sheds some light on how managerial incentives determine earnings inequality among workers.