Top-down vs bottom-up approaches to remote business training

Last registered on November 05, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Top-down vs bottom-up approaches to remote business training
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008318
Initial registration date
October 01, 2021
Last updated
November 05, 2021, 10:19 AM EDT

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
World Bank

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
World Bank
PI Affiliation
World Bank

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2020-11-01
End date
2022-12-16
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Recent meta-analyses have shown that business training can deliver improvements in business practices and business performance for small firms. However, one of the challenges is how to scale such programs in a cost-effective manner. We investigate the extent to which training can be remotely taught to small groups via Zoom sessions, with a sample of female microenterprise owners recruited from throughout Mexico and Guatemala. We test two approaches to delivering training content. The first is a standard top-down structure, where the training organization determines which topics should be taught and training is completely instructor-led. The second is a bottom-up approach, in which participants collectively help determine both the topics covered, and also share their own experiences along with the teaching of the instructor. A control group is offered online access to course material with no live instruction.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Davies, Elwyn, Leonardo Iacovone and David McKenzie. 2021. "Top-down vs bottom-up approaches to remote business training." AEA RCT Registry. November 05. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8318-1.1
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The participants assigned to the two treatment groups are enrolled in a course delivered through Zoom, which includes two two-hour sessions per week, spanning four weeks in total. There are two treatments:
Top-down treatment: participants receive the standard version of the course, with a pre-determined curriculum
Bottom-up treatment: participants decide together which modules of the course the instructor should prioritize, based on the specific needs their business is facing.

The control group is provided with access to online course materials, but no live instruction.
Intervention Start Date
2020-11-19
Intervention End Date
2022-03-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The following key outcomes will be defined in a pre-analysis plan:
1. Business practices
2. Personal initiative
3. Index of doing something new in the business (pivoting, innovation, digital changes)
4. Firm performance (sales and profits)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Firms are recruited in batches, and then randomized at the individual level into one of three groups with equal probability: top-down training, bottom-up training, and a control group. Two follow-up surveys are then collected at approximately one month and six months after training.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization is done privately in recruitment batches by computer, stratifying on country, business practices, and sales level.
Randomization Unit
Individual-level randomization of firms
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Approximately 2,000 firms
Sample size: planned number of observations
2,000 firms
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Firms are assigned with equal probability to the different treatments, so there should be approximately 650 firms in each treatment group and 650 in the control group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Human Subjects Committee for Innovations for Poverty Action IRB-USA
IRB Approval Date
2020-10-19
IRB Approval Number
15375
Analysis Plan

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