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.

2023
Cruz-Castro, L., Sanz-Menéndez, L.

Gender differences in research funding exist, but bias evidence is elusive and findings are contradictory. Bias has multiple dimensions, but in evaluation processes, bias would be the outcome of the reviewers’ assessment. Evidence in observational approaches is often based either on outcome distributions or on modeling bias as the residual. Causal claims are usually mixed with simple statistical associations.

2023
Carlos, C., Kistruck, G.M., Lount Jr, R.B., Morris, S., Thomas, T.E.

Although entrepreneurship training programs are designed to help necessity entrepreneurs acquire skills and capabilities to take entrepreneurial action, participants in these programs often fail to do so. In partnership with a local government agency, we conducted a randomized field experiment involving 165 entrepreneurs in rural Tanzania where in addition to providing technical-skills training, approximately half of the participants also received “growth mindset” psychological training.

2023
Asanov, I., Asanov, A.-M., Åstebro, T., Buenstorf, G., Crépon, B., McKenzie, D., Flores T., F.P., Mensmann, M., Schulte, M.

Many school systems across the globe turned to online education during the COVID-19 pandemic. This context differs significantly from the prepandemic situation in which massive open online courses attracted large numbers of voluntary learners who struggled with completion. Students who are provided online courses by their high schools also have their behavior determined by actions of their teachers and school system.

2023
Meng, C.C., Mizen, P., Riley, R., Schneebacher, J.

Structured management practices are robustly correlated with superior performance, but while some firms change practices quickly, wide dispersion of management quality persists. Uniquely, combining evidence from two novel business surveys and a failed management mentoring field experiment, we observe firms’ intentions to improve their management practices and firms’ subjective barriers to improving their management practices. We find clear evidence of positive selection into a free management mentoring scheme: the worst managed firms were the least likely to seek help.

2023
Fang, Z., Jia, N., Liao, C., Luo, X.

Can artificial intelligence (AI) assist human employees in increasing employee creativity? Drawing on research on AI-human collaboration, job design, and employee creativity, we examine AI assistance in the form of a sequential division of labor within organizations: in a task, AI handles the initial portion which is well-codified and repetitive, and employees focus on the subsequent portion involving higher-level problem-solving. First, we provide causal evidence from a field experiment conducted at a telemarketing company.

2022
Bartos, B., Castro, S., Czura, K., Opitz, T.

We seek to understand what is limiting women's access to finance, in particular for highly skilled start-up entrepreneurs. To investigate supply side constraints, we run a lab-in-the-field experiment in which loan officers in Uganda evaluate several business ideas based on real pitch decks from start-ups. We separate biases in idea evaluation from other constraints (such as gender specific differences in the ability to implement a project, or in external constraints that start-up entrepreneurs are facing).

2022
Ubfal, D., Arraiz, I., Beuermann, D., Frese, M., Maffioli, A., Verch, D.

A randomized control trial with 945 entrepreneurs in Jamaica shows positive shortterm impacts of soft-skills training on business outcomes. The effects are concentrated among men, and disappear twelve months after the training.

2022
Martínez Alvear, C.

This impact evaluation aims to measure the effect of a program that combines business training, mentoring, and a large cash transfer on high-potential small and medium businesses in Chile. 250 out of the top 500 firms participating in a business plan competition will be randomly selected to receive all three components of the program, while the remaining firms will receive none of them.

2022
Carson, R., Graff Zivin, J.S., Louviere, J., Sadoff, S., Shrader Jr, J.G.

This experiment tries to understand how managers respond to uncertainty when making research and development decisions. Three experiments were conducted with master’s degree students in a program focused on the intersection of business and technology.

2022
Colonnelli, E., Li, B., Liu, E.

We study the demand for government participation in China’s venture capital and private equity market. We conduct a large-scale, non-deceptive field experiment in collaboration with the leading industry service provider, through which we survey both sides of the market: the capital investors and the private firms managing the invested capital by deploying it to high-growth entrepreneurs. Our respondents together account for nearly $1 trillion in assets under management.

2022
Espinosa, M., Stanton, C.

We study direct productivity changes and spillovers after a randomized training program for the frontline workers in a Colombian government agency. While trained workers improved their individual production, we also find substantial spillovers that affected managers' productivity. We use email data and a survey to explore the mechanisms behind these spillovers and find that managers' increased output arises from reductions in the need to help lower level employees.

2022
Cusolito, A.P., Darova, O., Mckenzie, D.J.

The limited market size of many small emerging economies is a key constraint to the growth of innovative small and medium enterprises. Exporting offers a potential solution, but firms may struggle to locate and appeal to foreign buyers. A six-country randomized experiment was conducted with 225 firms in the Western Balkans to test the effectiveness of 30 hours of live group-based training and 5 hours of one-on-one remote consulting in overcoming these constraints.

2022
Dimitriadis, S., Koning, R.

What is preventing entrepreneurs and managers from forming peer connections themselves? This paper argues that entrepreneurs may be under-networked because they lack the necessary social skills that allow them to match efficiently with knowledgeable peers.

2022
Huneeus, F., Martínez Alvear, C., Woodruff, C.

This impact evaluation aims to measure the effect of a program that combines business training, mentoring, and a large cash transfer on high-potential small and medium businesses in Chile. 250 out of the top 500 firms participating in a business plan competition will be randomly selected to receive all three components of the program, while the remaining firms will receive none of them. In-person surveys with the entrepreneurs will be conducted before and 12 months after the program.

2022
Crusan, J., Lakhani, K., Lane, J., Menietti, M., Szajnfarber, Z.

Resource allocation decisions play a dominant role in shaping a firm’s technological trajectory and competitive advantage. Recent work indicates that innovative firms and scientific institutions tend to exhibit an anti-novelty bias when evaluating new projects and ideas. In this paper, we focus on shedding light into this observed pattern by examining how evaluator expertise in the problem’s focal domain shapes the relationship between novelty and feasibility in evaluations of quality for technical solutions.

2022
Buehren, N., Papineni, S.

This lab-in-the-field experiment will measure the gender bias in entrepreneurship and investment among youth and credit officers in Ethiopia. Chigign Tobiya “Ethiopia Emerges” is a television show in Ethiopia where entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of business tycoons for a chance to get investment funding.

2022
Levine, S., Stein, C., Williams, H.

In many scientific contexts, peer review can be either single-blind or double-blind: in single-blind review, research work (e.g., manuscripts, proposals) is reviewed alongside information on the author(s), whereas in double-blind review, information on the author(s) is withheld. We will report results from a randomized experiment conducted in collaboration with a grantmaking body, in the context of the grantmaker reviewing proposals in one field of science.

2022
deGrazia, C., Pairolero, N., Pappas, P.-A., Teodorescu, M., Toole, A.

Women are underrepresented in patenting and the gap is not closing quickly. One major roadblock to progress is a dearth of causal evidence on the potential effectiveness of policies to reduce the gender gap in patenting. Analyzing a randomized control trial at the United States Patent and Trademark Office that was designed to provide additional help to applicants who do not have legal representation, we find heterogeneous causal impacts across gender and technologies on the probability of obtaining patent rights.

2022
Cohodes, S., Ho, H., Robles, S.C.

The federal government and many individual organizations have invested in programs to support diversity in the STEM pipeline, including STEM summer programs for high school students, but there is little rigorous evidence of their efficacy. We fielded a randomized controlled trial to study a suite of such programs targeted to underrepresented high school students at an elite, technical institution. The STEM summer programs differ in their length (one week, six weeks, or six months) and modality (on-site or online).

2022
Howell, S., Kuchler, T., Snitkof, D., Stroebel, J., Wong, J.

By enabling smaller loans, broader geographic reach, and less human bias in decision-making, process automation may reduce racial disparities in access to financial services. We find evidence for all three channels in a setting where private lenders faced no credit risk but decided who to serve: the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provided loans to small businesses during COVID-19. Black-owned firms disproportionately obtained their PPP loans from fintech lenders, especially in areas with high racial animus.

2022

We analyze, benchmark, and run randomized controlled trials on a panel of 7,463 U.S. entrepreneurs making incentivized sales forecasts. We assess accuracy using a novel administrative dataset obtained in collaboration with a leading US payment processing firm. At baseline, only 13% of entrepreneurs can forecast their firm’s sales in the next three months within 10% of the realized value, with 7.3% of the mean squared error attributable to bias and the remaining 92.7% attributable to noise.

2022
Gorodnichenko, Y., Kumar, S., Coibion, O.

Using a new survey of firms in New Zealand, we document how exogenous variation in the macroeconomic uncertainty perceived by firms affects their economic decisions. We use randomized information treatments that provide different types of information about the first and/or second moments of future economic growth to generate exogenous changes in the perceived macroeconomic uncertainty of some firms. The effects on their decisions relative to their initial plans as well as relative to an untreated control group are measured in a follow-up survey six months later.

2022
Fairlie, R., Turner, P.

This project is a collaboration with Corner to Corner to study the impact of their entrepreneurship training course on financial stability. Corner to Corner, a Nashville-based nonprofit, is focused on their mission of helping their neighbors to flourish and addressing the racial wealth gap. One of their primary programs is The Academy, a 10-week entrepreneurship training course that teaches students the fundamentals of starting and operating their own business.

2022
Yokoo, H.-F., Kubo, T., Sasaki H.

Climate change poses an urgent and existential threat to the wine sector. However, it is not easy for wineries and farmers to take action to reduce carbon emission comparing to adaptation. How can we encourage these actions? Farmers often seek information before take action, which influences their current risk perceptions of extreme weather condition or moral norms. Regarding the information, a positive approach focusing on empowering farmers to take action to address climate change is generally more successful at engaging people and minimizing defensive reactions.

2022
Brune, L., Giné, X., Karlan, D.

Microcredit promised business growth for small firms lacking access to banking loans. Although microcredit has reached millions, recent randomized evaluations find limited average business impacts. Critics often blame contract rigidity, specifically the fixed and frequent installments, for the lack of productive risk-taking. But such rigidity may instill borrower discipline. This study partnered with a Colombian lender that offered first-time borrowers a flexible loan that permitted delaying up to three monthly repayments.

2022
Bruhn, M., Piza, C.

This paper tests whether providing more information on business practices can lead firms to seek out advice and improve their practices. The authors collaborated with a business advice provider in Brazil to implement a randomized experiment with 866 small firms. The treatment groups received different versions of an information sheet that benchmarked business practices to other firms and listed five practices to improve.

2022
Jibril, H., Mensmann, M., Roper, S., Scott, D.

The ‘Evolve Digital’ trial was developed with the objective of boosting digital adoption in small family firms through identifying a cost-effective, yet productivity-enhancing programme of peer group learning for small family businesses, which can be replicated throughout the country.

2022
De Oliveira, P.

The study investigates the role of information constraints and behavioral biases in the under-adoption of key business practices by micro-enterprises in Brazil. We combine a randomized control trial with online surveys to study these questions.

2022
Anderson, S. J., McKenzie, D.

. A randomized experiment is conducted a in Nigeria to test the relative effectiveness of these different approaches in improving business practices.

2022
Iacovone, L., Maloney, W., McKenzie, D.

Differences in management quality are an important contributor to productivity differences across countries. A key question is then how to best improve poor management in developing countries. We test two different approaches to improving management in Colombian auto parts firms. The first uses intensive and expensive one-on-one consulting, while the second draws on agricultural extension approaches to provide consulting to small groups of firms at approximately one-third of the cost of the individual approach.

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