A classical approach to collecting and elaborating information to make entrepreneurial decisions combines search heuristics such as trial and error, effectuation, and confirmatory search. This paper develops a framework for exploring the implications of a more scientific approach to entrepreneurial decision making. The panel sample of our randomized control trial includes 116 Italian startups and 16 data points over a period of about one year.
IGL database (beta)
Many innovative start-ups and small and medium-size enterprises have good ideas, but do not have these ideas fine-tuned to the stage where they can attract outside funding. Investment readiness programs attempt to help firms to become ready to attract and accept outside equity funding through a combination of training, mentoring, master classes, and networking.
Existing theories and empirical research on how innovation occurs largely assume that innovativeness is an inherent characteristic of the individual and that people with this innate ability select into jobs that require it. In this paper, we investigate whether people who do not self-select into being innovators can be induced to innovate, and whether they innovate differently than those who do self-select into innovating.
Examines a program in Benin that drastically reduces costs to formalize a business, while also offering tax mediation and training. Results forthcoming.
Effects of relative pay on effort and labour supply are being examined in the context of an Indian manufacturing plant where co-workers' wages are exogenously varied. Results forthcoming.
Using a randomized experiment in Chile we study the impact role models have in the context of a training program for micro-entrepreneurs. We show that being in a group randomly chosen to be visited by a successful alumnus of the program increases household income one year after, mostly due to increased business participation and business income.
“I sometimes think that general and popular treatises are almost as important for the progress of science as original work.” - Charles Darwin, 1865.
As the largest encyclopedia in the world, it is not surprising that Wikipedia reflects the state of scientific knowledge. However, Wikipedia is also one of the most accessed websites in the world, including by scientists, which suggests that it also has the potential to shape science. This paper shows that it does.
We investigate the impact of a program providing asset transfers and business training to low income individuals in Chile, and asked whether a larger asset transfer would magnify the program's impact. We randomly assigned participation in a large scale, publicly run micro-entrepreneurship program and evaluated its effects over 45 months. The program improved business practices, employment, and labor income. In the short run, self-employment increased by 14.8/25.2 percentage points for a small/large asset transfer.
This study explores how individuals develop habitual perspectives from repetitive tasks they enact over time, and how these deeply ingrained habits of perspective influence creativity. Further, this study proposes that habits of perspective are resistant to the creativity-stunting effect of financial incentives.
This study draws on social learning theory and research concerning role model effects to understand how exposure to female entrepreneurial role models influences the development of entrepreneurial self-efficacy, attitudes and intentions among female students. We present results from a field experiment including data from 547 students and 98 entrepreneurs.
Search costs continue to powerfully shape (and limit) the formation of collaborations between scientists. Formation of collaborations appears
to be highly sensitive to information-rich face-to-face interactions, which existing communications technologies may not sufficiently substitute.
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.
Almost all firms in developing countries have fewer than ten workers, with a modal size of one. Are there potential high-growth entrepreneurs, and can public policy help identify them and facilitate their growth? A large-scale national business plan competition in Nigeria provides evidence on these questions. Random assignment of US$34 million in grants provided each winner with approximately US$50,000.
We report results of a natural field experiment conducted at a medical organization that sought contribution of public goods (i.e., projects for organizational improvement) from its 1200 employees. Offering a prize for winning submissions boosted participation by 85 percent without affecting the quality of the submissions. The effect was consistent across gender and job type. We posit that the allure of a prize, in combination with mission-oriented preferences, drove participation.
A business networking programme on firm performance in China, and how groups composition and meeting frequency can facilitate trust and information flows. Results forthcoming.
While management styles and practices have been found to be important determinants of firm performance, there is far less evidence on the extent to which management matters for entrepreneurial ventures and whether founders can learn to be more effective managers.
It is well-established that the effectiveness of pay-for-performance (PfP) schemes depends on employee- and organization-specific factors. However, less is known about the role of external forces. Investigating the role of market competition on the effectiveness of PfP, we theorize that there are two counteracting effects – business stealing and competitor response – that jointly generate an inverted U-shape relationship between PfP effectiveness and competition.
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.
How do different sources of social influence impact the likelihood of entrepreneurship? We examine this question in the setting of an entrepreneurship class in which students were randomly assigned to receive mentorship from either an entrepreneur or a non-entrepreneur. Using a longitudinal field experiment with a pre-test/post-test design, we find that randomization to an entrepreneur mentor increases the likelihood of entrepreneurial careers, particularly for students whose parents were not entrepreneurs.
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.
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.
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.
A 5-day enterprise training programme for women in Kenya. Results forthcoming.
In October 2014, all 4,494 undergraduates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were given access to Bitcoin, a decentralized digital currency. As a unique feature of the experiment, students who would generally adopt first were placed in a situation where many of their peers received access to the technology before them, and they then had to decide whether to continue to invest in this digital currency or exit. Our results suggest that when natural early adopters are delayed relative to their peers, they are more likely to reject the technology.
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.
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.
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.
Field experiments have the potential to provide unambiguous causal evidence on innovation topics while simultaneously assisting organisations with their innovation.
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.
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.