Major Research Grant Projects

At least five Major Research Grant projects are awarded each year, funding outstanding scientific work based in low-income countries.

A combination of geographical data on post-conflict land mines and micro-level economic data allows for the quantification of the long-run effects of land mines on economic performance and development of conflict-affected states such as Mozambique. 
Researchers: Elias Papaioannou, Stelios Michalopoulos
Grants Round: 3rd MRG Round
Country: Mozambique
Cross-cutting themes: Fragile and conflict-affected states
The first-ever impact evaluation of a randomized microfranchising intervention will investigate the “business in a box” model as a means to promote microenterpreneurship in Kenya.  
Researchers: Pamela Jakiela
Grants Round: 3rd MRG Round
Country: Kenya
Cross-cutting themes: Gender
By leveraging the ILO’s targeted business-training program for women called GET Ahead, this study will use a randomized control trial to help understand the dynamics of business growth of informal female-owned microenterprises in Kenya.
Researchers: David McKenzie
Grants Round: 3rd MRG Round
Country: Kenya
Cross-cutting themes: Gender
By randomizing a piloted internship programme for young Ethiopians, the researchers are able to test whether experiential learning from the programme can improve future employment prospects of the interns. 
Researchers: Marcel Fafchamps, Simon Quinn, Girum Abebe
Grants Round: 3rd MRG Round
Country: Ethiopia
Cross-cutting themes: Gender
By studying the football and surgical goods industries of Pakistan, this project seeks to identify barriers to upgrading in manufacturing firms such as high costs of high-quality inputs and fixed costs of innovation. 
Researchers: Eric Verhoogen, Azam Chaudhry, Shamyla Chaudhry, David Atkin, Amit Khandelwal
Grants Round: 2nd MRG round
Country: Pakistan
Cross-cutting themes: Fragile and conflict-affected states
This project aims to quantify the relationship between Foreign Direct Investment and domestic firm development by building on an existing study of Chinese and Indian investment in the processed leather sector in Ethiopia. 
Researchers: Margaret McMillan, Girum Abebe
Grants Round: 2nd MRG round
Country: Ethiopia
Cross-cutting themes: Gender
This study builds on an earlier ERG project to carefully examine the causal mechanisms by which business skills training affects business outcomes using high frequency follow-up surveys.
Researchers: Greg Fischer, Dean Karlan, Meredith Startz
Grants Round: 2nd MRG round
Country: Uganda
Cross-cutting themes: Gender
This project draws on rich Indonesian data to study the externalities and impacts of agglomeration in order for relevant insight into spatially targeted policies for manufacturing firms in Low-Income Countries (LICs). 
Researchers: Alexander Rothenberg, Shanthi Nataraj
Grants Round: 2nd MRG round
Country: Indonesia
This project draws on ongoing data collection methods to understand small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Low-Income Countries (LICs) and their financial activities, in order to create models for policy recommendations designed to address market frictions.
Researchers: Robert Townsend
Grants Round: 2nd MRG round
Country: Thailand
This randomized evaluation studies the effects of incentivising microfinance loan officers to identify clients with the highest potential returns on their loans, in order to test the hypothesis that the business model of classic microfinance institutions might be one of the reasons why high-growth microentrepreneurs have difficulty accessing SME-level loans. 
Researchers: Dean Karlan, Gharad Bryan
Grants Round: 1st MRG Round
Country: South Africa
Cross-cutting themes: Gender

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