Mentoring Small and Medium Micro-enterprises in Puebla, Mexico

Last registered on July 26, 2016


Trial Information

General Information

Mentoring Small and Medium Micro-enterprises in Puebla, Mexico
Initial registration date
July 26, 2016

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
July 26, 2016, 2:39 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.


Primary Investigator

Northwestern University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
MIT Sloan School of Management
PI Affiliation
The World Bank

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Using a randomized evaluation with 432 Mexican small and medium enterprises, we show that access to
management consulting had positive effects on total factor productivity and return-on-assets (about 0.2
standard deviations, relative to the control group). Owners also had significant increase in
“entrepreneurial spirit” (an index that measures entrepreneurial confidence and goal setting). Using
Mexican social security data, we find a persistent large increase (about 50%) in the number of
employees and total wage bill even five years after the program. We document large heterogeneity in
the specific managerial practices that improved as a result of the consulting, but the three most
prominent areas are marketing, financial accounting, and long-term business planning.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

, , Dean Karlan and Antoinette Schoar. 2016. "Mentoring Small and Medium Micro-enterprises in Puebla, Mexico." AEA RCT Registry. July 26.
Former Citation
, et al. 2016. "Mentoring Small and Medium Micro-enterprises in Puebla, Mexico." AEA RCT Registry. July 26.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details


The intervention aims to expand the managerial skills by owner-managers of small and medium-sized enterprises in Puebla, Mexico by giving them access to subsidized consulting and mentoring services. Treated enterprises were matched with one of nine local consulting firms based on the specialized services they needed. Enterprises met with their consultants for four hours per week over a one year period. The enterprise owner and consulting firm decided jointly on the focus and scope of the consulting services based on a daylong diagnostic consultation between the enterprise and the consulting firm.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Avg. sales Jul, Aug, and Sep 2007 (1000s USD)

Sep 2007 costs (1000s USD)

Profits (Sep 2007 sales minus costs, 1000s USD)

Business assets (1000s USD)

Full-time paid employees

Average sales Dec 2008, Jan and Feb 2009 (1000s USD)

Feb 2009 costs (1000s USD)

Profits (Feb 2009 sales minus costs, 1000s USD)

Productivity residual

Return on assets (ROA)

Number of employees

Daily wage bill

Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The aim of this study was to test whether alleviating the constraints on managerial capital has a first order effect on the performance and growth of small enterprises in emerging markets, and if so, which dimensions of managerial capital are particularly important for firm performance. A randomized control trial was set up in Puebla, Mexico, where 432 micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises applied to receive subsidized consulting services, and 150 out of the 432 were randomly chosen to receive the treatment. The remaining 282 enterprises served as a control group that did not receive any subsidized consulting services. The study measured the impact of the intervention on firms and owner-managers in two different ways: surveys were administered at baseline and a one-year follow-up, and confidential administrative data were obtained on employment levels and total wages for the firms in the treatment and control groups.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
The randomization was stratified by sector (manufacturing, services, and commerce) and enterprise size (micro, small, and medium-sized)10 and was conducted through a Stata program that was run on the premises of IPPC in the presence of government officials and a public notary, who certified
that the assignment to the treatment group was random, i.e., not re-run depending on any particular
Randomization Unit
Individual sectors (manufacturing, services, or commerce) and individual enterprise size categories (micro, small, and medium-sized)
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Three sectors (manufacturing, services, or commerce) and three enterprise size categories (micro, small, and medium-sized)
Sample size: planned number of observations
432 enterprises
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
282 enterprises control

150 enterprises treatment (of which 80 decided to participate in the treatment)

Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
June 01, 2008, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Data Collection Completion Date
April 03, 2015, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations

Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
80 enterprises treatment
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials