Evaluation of Entrepreneurial Activity in the West Bank

Last registered on June 14, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Evaluation of Entrepreneurial Activity in the West Bank
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004223
Initial registration date
May 18, 2019
Last updated
June 14, 2021, 7:03 PM EDT

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Sweet Briar College

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Rice University
PI Affiliation
University of Southern California
PI Affiliation
Harvard University
PI Affiliation
University of Chicago

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2019-07-01
End date
2022-02-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Lack of secular economic opportunity is believed to be related to social unrest, engagement in terrorism, and association with radical groups. In conflict areas, difficulties accessing economic opportunity and employment are often exacerbated by movement restrictions and investor concerns about safety of physical plant and other capital investments that might enhance employment opportunities. Recent advances in cloud-computing and software-driven services present the promise of a solution through cloud-based entrepreneurial activity. In this study, we propose an RCT-enabled programmatic intervention designed to alleviate a number of frictions related to movement and capital constraints in these settings. We implement a pre-accelerator program in the Palestinian West Bank, which provides information about software- and cloud-based entrepreneurship and how to start such a business, coupled with basic entrepreneurship skills education. We aim to teach participants that it is possible to engage in entrepreneurship that is not limited by movement constraints, and equip them with the initial information and tools to do so. Our outcome variables capture effects on economic activity such as new business creation; engagement in other, more significant entrepreneurship training programs, such as accelerators; measures of personal outlook from the psychology literature such as optimism, hope and attitudes towards the future; and attitudes towards economic and security cooperation in the region.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Lee, Daniel et al. 2021. "Evaluation of Entrepreneurial Activity in the West Bank." AEA RCT Registry. June 14. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4223-3.2
Former Citation
Lee, Daniel et al. 2021. "Evaluation of Entrepreneurial Activity in the West Bank." AEA RCT Registry. June 14. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/4223/history/93618
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2019-12-25
Intervention End Date
2020-02-19

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
First endline:
1. Entrepreneurial readiness/knowledge/confidence/intentions
2. Participation in entrepreneurial and freelancing activities (e.g., working on generating a business idea)
3. Measures of personal outlook (satisfaction, optimism, hope)
4. Attitudes towards economic and security cooperation in the region
5. Omitted – see hidden section of Experimental Design for detail

Second endline:
Outcome measures #2-#5 from first endline plus:
6. Self-employment, total income, and entrepreneurial / freelancing profits

Third endline:
All outcome measures from second endline plus:
7. Self-efficacy
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
First endline:
We believe the training program will directly impact peoples’ entrepreneurial readiness and confidence and encourage them to engage in entrepreneurial activities (outcomes #1 and 2 above). We then want to test whether their increased entrepreneurial confidence engender more hopeful and optimistic personal outlooks, promote attitudes towards regional peace, and/or decrease inclinations towards radicalization. In this way we can see primary outcomes #1-2 as “first stage” variables and outcomes #3-5 as “second stage” variables. Since we think the efficacy of the training program in generating a first stage may vary with observables such as training location, gender, and level of preparation (e.g., college major), we will analyze treatment effects on our second stage variables (#3-5) in two ways: first in a standard reduced form intent-to-treat framework (regressing the outcome variables on a dummy for treatment), and second, in an IV framework where the endogenous regressor is outcome #1, the dependent variables are outcomes #3-5, and the instruments are a dummy for being in the treatment group interacted with variables which affect the first stage such as training location, gender, and preparation.

We believe the first endline will be too soon after the intervention to impact wages and new business creation, but can test whether people are using the tools they learned to engage in entrepreneurial activities (outcome #2).

Second endline:
We move outcome #6 (self employment and income/profits) from a secondary to a primary outcome since enough time has elapsed for the intervention to potentially impact this outcome.
We correspondingly move outcome #1 (entrepreneurial readiness/knowledge/confidence) from a primary to a secondary outcome since enough time has elapsed for entrepreneurial readiness to translate into actual entrepreneurial activity (outcome #2), which is a more important and more cleanly-measured outcome

We will again use the same two analysis frameworks from before: (1) the OLS ITT framework and (2) the IV-style framework that analyses the treatment effects for outcomes #3 onwards only among those for whom we see a first stage on outcome #2.


Third endline:
We add self-efficacy as a primary outcome because we saw effects on that measure in the second endline among those for whom we have a first stage on outcome #2 and want to test if these effects persist.

We again will adopt both analysis frameworks outlined for the second endline, paying particular attention to the (2) IV-style framework that focuses analysis for outcomes #3 onwards only among those for whom we have a first stage on outcome #2. We pay particular attention to framework (2) since the first stage on outcome #2 was much larger in certain subsamples than others.

In addition, because in the second endline we saw a much higher first stage on outcome #2 in certain training locations, we will conduct heterogeneity analysis and descriptive analysis to try to understand what factors drive the differences across locations. This analysis relates to the literature on entrepreneurship training which contains many examples of effective trainings and many examples of ineffective trainings; we will see if we can use our within-sample variation in effectiveness to shed light on potential reasons for this heterogeneity in effectiveness.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
First endline:
1. Self-efficacy, empowerment
2. Mental health (depression, anxiety)
3. Self-employment and wages

Second endline
1. Self-efficacy, empowerment
2. Mental health (depression, anxiety)
3. Entrepreneurial readiness/knowledge/confidence/intentions


Third endline
1. Mental health (depression, anxiety)
2. Entrepreneurial readiness/knowledge/confidence/intentions
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Treated subjects willgo through five days of training for building skills and accessing key resources for technology-focused entrepreneurs. Outcomes will be measured in a series of (paid) surveys at baseline/intake, following the training,
and 6M/12M post program. Surveys cover career intentions, attitudes towards entrepreneurship, and any
actions towards exploring/building businesses.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
lottery draws
Randomization Unit
individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Treatment is not clustered, planned observations is 500 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
500 individuals (split evenly between treatment and control)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
250 individuals to treatment, 250 to control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Rice University IRB
IRB Approval Date
2017-11-06
IRB Approval Number
IRB-FY2018-212