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Using Framed Field Experiments to Understand Market Behavior in Developing Countries

Alex Oo and Russell Toth (both University of Sydney, 2013) conduct a framed lab-in-field experiment to explore the hypothesis that a number of stylized facts about microenterprise behaviour in developing countries – including product market homogeneity and lack of growth and innovation – can be explained by a social institution in which micro-entrepreneurs share the market to “buy a job.”

17 Feb 2014

International Competition and Industrial Evolution: Evidence from the Impact of Chinese Competition on Mexican Maquiladoras

This paper analyses the effects of the competition between two South locations (Mexico and China) in a Northern market (US).

18 Feb 2014

Business Training and Female Enterprise Start-up, Growth, and Dynamics: Experimental Evidence from Sri Lanka

De Mel, McKenzie and Woodruff (2014) conduct a randomized experiment among women in urban Sri Lanka to measure the impact of the most commonly used business training course in developing countries, the Start-and-Improve Your Business (SIYB) program.

18 Feb 2014

Managing the Family Firm: Evidence from CEOs at Work

CEOs affect the performance of the firms they manage, and family CEOs seem to weaken it. Yet little is known about what top executives actually do, and whether it differs by firm ownership. The authors (Bandiera, Prat and Sadun; 2013) study CEOs in the Indian manufacturing sector, where family ownership is widespread and the productivity dispersion across firms is substantial.

20 Feb 2014

Lawrence Edwards

Lawrence Edwards (UCT), describes his project on price-setting behaviour among retail outlets in Lesotho.

28 Feb 2014

Job Creation and Destruction in South Africa

Analysts of the South African labour market have mainly used household surveys to analyse the labour market. It has been more difficult to explore the labour demand of firms, as a result of limited data availability.

Journal Article
1 Mar 2014

Minding Small Change among Small Firms in Kenya

Many micro-enterprises in Kenya have low productivity. This paper, published in the Journal of Development Economics (May 2014) focuses on one particular business decision which may indicate low productivity: keeping enough change on hand to break larger bills. This is a surprisingly large problem. The researchers' estimates suggest that the average firm loses approximately 5–8% of total profits because they do not have enough change.

17 Mar 2014

Team Incentives: Evidence From a Field Experiment

Many organizations rely on teamwork, and yet field evidence on the impacts of team-based incentives remains scarce. Compared to individual incentives, team incentives can affect productivity by changing both workers’ effort and team composition. This paper by Bandiera, Barankay and Rasul (Journal of the European Economic Association, October 2013) presents evidence from a field experiment designed to evaluate the impact of rank incentives and tournaments on the productivity and composition of teams.

17 Mar 2014

Incentives, Selection and Productivity in Labor Markets: Evidence from Rural Malawi

An observed positive relationship between compensation and productivity cannot distinguish between two channels: (1) an incentive effect and (2) worker selection. In this paper by Guiteras and Jack (latest version: January 2014), the authors use a simplified Becker-DeGroot-Marschak mechanism, which provides random variation in piece rates conditional on revealed reservation rates, to separately identify the two channels in the context of casual labor markets in rural Malawi.

17 Mar 2014