The Impact of Soft-Skills Training for entrepreneurs in Jamaica.
Last registered on April 12, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
The Impact of Soft-Skills Training for entrepreneurs in Jamaica.
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001208
Initial registration date
March 17, 2017
Last updated
April 12, 2019 6:03 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
BOCCONI UNIVERSITY
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Caribbean Country Department, Inter-American Development Bank
PI Affiliation
IDB Invest
PI Affiliation
IDB Invest
PI Affiliation
Leuphana University
PI Affiliation
Leuphana University and NUS Business School
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2016-08-01
End date
2019-04-11
Secondary IDs
Abstract
A randomized control trial with 945 entrepreneurs in Jamaica shows positive short-term impacts of soft-skills training on business outcomes. The effects are concentrated among men, and disappear twelve months after the training. We argue that the main channel is increased adoption of recommended business practices, exclusively observed in the short run. We see persistent effects on an incentivized behavioral measure of perseverance after setbacks, a focus of this training. We compare a course focused only on soft-skills to one that combines soft-skills training with traditional business training. The effects of the combined training are never statistically significant
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
UBFAL, DIEGO et al. 2019. "The Impact of Soft-Skills Training for entrepreneurs in Jamaica.." AEA RCT Registry. April 12. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1208/history/44906
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We offer two 10-week, 40-hour business training courses.

The first 5 classes of each course focus on soft skills. In particular, on fostering personal initiative, a psychological intervention aimed at making business owners more proactive with respect to new ideas (Frese and Gielnik, 2014). The approach was hands-on with many examples from the local context and exercises related to the entrepreneur’s business.

The second 5 classes differ across treatment arms. In the “soft-skills” treatment arm, the second part of the course focuses on being persistent (learning from errors, anticipating barriers, dealing with setbacks, maintaining effort). While in the other treatment arm ("combined training"), the additional five classes cover material that is usually included in traditional business training courses (strategic management, stocking, financial management, record keeping, costing, customer care and writing a business plan).
Intervention Start Date
2016-10-15
Intervention End Date
2016-12-15
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Business outcomes, soft skills, and business practices
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We account for multiple hypothesis testing by using the procedure described in List et al 2016. Moreover, for each table, we create indexes for each family of outcomes (Kling et al., 2007).
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We conduct an RCT with two treatment groups and a control group, the first treatment group is offered to take a 40-hour course focused only on non-cognitive skills (in particular, on personal initiative and persistence), while the second treatment group is offered to take a 40-hour course combining both soft-skills training (with focus on personal initiative, but not on persistence) and standard business practices. The control group is not offered to take the training.

Randomization is at the individual level, stratified on gender, selected location of the training, education and having at least one employee in the firm.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization privately done by a computer, using Stata.
Randomization Unit
Individual.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
945 microentrepreneurs
Sample size: planned number of observations
945 microentrepreneurs
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
315 microentrepreneurs
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Ethics Committee of Universita Commerciale "Luigi Bocconi"
IRB Approval Date
2016-02-17
IRB Approval Number
No number
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
February 28, 2017, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
June 15, 2018, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
945 entrepreneurs
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Yes
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
691 (3-month follow-up), 562 (12-month follow-up)
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
217 control, 237 soft-skills training, 237 combined training (3-month follow-up) 185 control, 194 soft-skills training, 183 combined training (12-month follow-up)
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No

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Program Files
Program Files
No
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers
Abstract
A randomized control trial with 945 entrepreneurs in Jamaica shows positive short-term impacts of soft-skills training on business outcomes. The effects are concentrated among men, and disappear twelve months after the training. We argue that the main
channel is increased adoption of recommended business practices, exclusively observed in the short run. We see persistent effects on an incentivized behavioral measure of perseverance after setbacks, a focus of this training. We compare a course focused only on soft-skills to one that combines soft-skills training with traditional business training. The effects of the combined training are never statistically significant.
Citation
Ubfal et al. (2019) "The Impact of Soft-Skills Training for Entrepreneurs in Jamaica."