Building High-Growth Firms Through Training the Owner vs Through Linking the Firm to Business Service Markets
Last registered on February 27, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Building High-Growth Firms Through Training the Owner vs Through Linking the Firm to Business Service Markets
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002769
Initial registration date
March 14, 2018
Last updated
February 27, 2019 12:01 PM EST
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
World Bank
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Stanford University
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2016-02-09
End date
2020-06-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Many small firms lack the finance and marketing skills needed for firm growth. The standard approach in many government programs has been to attempt to train the owner to develop these skills, through business training sessions or personalized consulting services. However, an alternative is to link firms to these skills in the market through insourcing workers with these skills, or outsourcing these tasks to professionals specializing in these services. We test which approach works best to grow small firms through a randomized experiment. Firms with 2-15 workers each will be randomized into five groups: a control group, a group given business training for the owner, a group given consulting services, a group linked to HR specialists who will find a worker to insource these skills, and a group linked to companies with professionals specializing in business services to outsource these skills. Impacts on business practices, firm sales and employment growth will then be measured to determine the most effective way of building skills in SMEs.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Anderson, Stephen and David McKenzie. 2019. "Building High-Growth Firms Through Training the Owner vs Through Linking the Firm to Business Service Markets ." AEA RCT Registry. February 27. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2769/history/42169
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Firms will be randomly assigned to one of four interventions: business training; business consulting; insourcing of an accounting or marketing worker; or outsourcing to an accounting or marketing firm.
Intervention Start Date
2016-12-15
Intervention End Date
2018-12-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
In the short-term, we are interested in which program has the most impact on business practices
In the longer-term, key outcomes are business survival, profitability, sales, and employment
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The pre-analysis plan will describe how these outcomes are defined and constructed
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Short-term: time-use of the business owner
Longer-term: use of market for business services, access to and use of finance, subjective well-being, innovation
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
The pre-analysis plan will describe how these outcomes are defined and constructed
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Firms will be randomly allocated in enrolment batches. Within each batch, firms are randomly allocated to one of the four treatments, or to a control group, in equal proportions.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by computer, stratified by enrolment batch
Randomization Unit
Firm
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
The number of clusters is the same as the number of units. It is 753 firms.
Sample size: planned number of observations
753 firms
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
The sample size is equally allocated across the five groups (subject to rounding).
Control - 149 firms
Training - 153 firms
Consulting - 149 firms
Insourcing - 152 firms
Outsourcing- 150 firms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
See pre-analysis plan.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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