We will implement a firm-level RCT among 1500 small, medium and large firms from Brazil’s manufacturing sector. Since very small firms are highly unlikely to export – and therefore will have little interest in participating in our experiment – we restrict the sample to firms with more than 20 employees (with the possibility of slightly expanding this number depending on the response rate of smaller firms). From this universe, we will randomly select a group of firms that have not exported in the last three years (2018-2020). Then, we will randomly divide the firms in five groups. The first will be our pure control group, while the others will be exposed to different types of treatments. We will expose firms in the treatment group to distinct short course sessions designed to boost firms’ trade engagement: i) Red tape course; ii) Financial constraints course; iii) Demand uncertainty course; iv) All the three previous courses. In sum, our treatment group is composed of four categories. The first three address the bureaucratic, financial and demand uncertainty frictions, respectively. The last group encompasses all the three frictions.
We plan to collect information in three different rounds, one baseline and two follow-ups. The baseline will take place immediately before the treatment takes place. The two follow-ups will happen 6 and 24 months after the treatment.
All courses will be in online and synchronous format through the ZOOM platform. Each course will last six to eight hours. None of the participants will know the difference between the courses. Only one person from each firm will attend the course. For each of the participants, we will create a register with email, login and password to access the course. We will monitor the attendance of each of the participants allowing us to gather information on the presence, time of entry and time of departure of each one of them in the courses. No participation fee will be charged.
After the end of the courses and the other two field surveys are completed, a free, online and asynchronous business course will be offered to the entire sample (treated and control) as a way to encourage firms to fill out the field research forms and attend the main courses. This course will last approximately two hours and will not be associated with export topics to avoid an intention to treat to export by the control group.
We are applying for another grant from Getulio Vargas Foundation, but the result will only be available in March 2022. If we obtain that funding, we will include another follow up in 12 months after the treatment, so that we can have a better insight on medium-term effects. Moreover, with that grant we intend to implement a second intervention that will be more intensive and personalized. This intervention will involve an export promotion consultancy that will be offered for firms during 2023, after the second follow up. It will be an individual online consultancy taught by an expert, lasting four hours.