Targeting High Ability Entrepreneurs Using Community Information: Mechanism Design In The Field

Journal Article
Published on 1 March 2022

The published version of this article is available here at the American Economic Review.


Identifying high-growth microentrepreneurs in low-income countries remains a challenge due to a scarcity of verifiable information. With a cash grant experiment in India we demonstrate that community knowledge can help target high-growth microentrepreneurs; while the average marginal return to capital in our sample is 9.4 percent per month, microentrepreneurs reported in the top third of the community are estimated to have marginal returns to capital between 24 percent and 30 percent per month. Further we find evidence that community members distort their predictions when they can influence the distribution of resources. Finally, we demonstrate that simple mechanisms can realign incentives for truthful reporting.


Reshmaan Hussam

Harvard University

Natalia Rigol

Harvard University

Benjamin Roth

Harvard University