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Evaluating an Export Promotion Scheme in Tunisia
Initial registration date
March 05, 2019
March 08, 2019 3:49 PM EST
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Other Primary Investigator(s)
University of Geneva and ICREA/MOVE, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics
World Bank Group
Additional Trial Information
To promote export diversification, the Tunisian government is implementing a $22 million export matching-grant scheme, TASDIR+. TASDIR+ aims to increase exports and promote export diversification toward higher value-added exports and new markets. This study is using a randomized controlled trial to evaluate TASDIR+’s traditional matching grant scheme and a newly implemented rebate scheme. Under the traditional matching grant scheme, eligible firms receive a 50% cost subsidy for eligible export-related expenses. Under the rebate scheme, available to agriculture/agribusiness firms, eligible firms receive the 50% cost subsidy and a rebate based on the firm’s export performance in new markets.
The questions the project seeks to answer are: (i) does subsidizing a firm’s export business plan or office abroad help firms export to new markets or export new product variety? and (ii) do export rebates encourage firms to increase export volume, export new product varieties, and/or export to new (advanced) markets? While both export subsidies and matching grants are popular policy tools, to date there is very little rigorous evidence on their effectiveness, a gap this proposed impact evaluation aims to address.
(1) Traditional matching grant scheme: eligible firms receive a 50% cost subsidy for eligible export-related expenses (geared towards general export activity or implantation abroad).
(2) Rebate scheme: eligible firms receive the 50% cost subsidy and a rebate based on the firm’s export performance in new markets. Firms with agribusiness/agricultural activity are eligible for the rebate scheme. The rebate is given in the form of reimbursement of eligible expenses. The total reimbursement (matching grant + rebate) cannot exceed 90% of the firm’s expenses. For the rebate, a new market is a market to which the firm did not export an agricultural product in the calendar year prior to application.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Number of products, number of destination markets, export share of different product varieties, export share to different markets, export volume, annual sales of the firm, number of employees.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Number of product varieties produced by the firm, number, volume, and varieties of inputs used by the firm.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Firms can apply to the program once, in any of the four scheduled application rounds. Firms self-select into one of the two business plan options: export business plan or internationalization business plan. Eligible firms are identified through a screening process of the applications based on firm characteristics and export destinations. All eligible firms are surveyed online or in person if necessary, and follow-up surveys take place a year later. Stratification is based on three dimensions: the firm's business plan, sector, and size (as determined by mean revenue adjusted for inflation), following which the firms are randomized into treatment and control groups.
Experimental Design Details
Public randomization using an excel algorithm.
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
181 firms control, 181 firms matching grant only, 21 firms matching grant and rebate.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Standard deviation of outcome "number of export destinations": 0.5 - 0.9.
MDE: 0.2 standard deviations of the outcome, i.e., 10-18% increase in number of export destinations.
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)