Firm-Level Upgrading in Developing Countries

In principle, firms in developing countries benefit from the fact that advanced technologies and products have already been developed in industrialized countries and can simply be adopted, a process often referred to as industrial upgrading. But for many firms, this advantage has remained elusive.

Synthesis Paper
10 Mar 2020

Developing a “Product-Market Experimentation & Fit” Measurement Tool and Testing its Effectiveness via an RCT with Lean Start-up Entrepreneurs in Kenya and Uganda

This project aims to improve our understanding of ‘demand-side factors’ related to why some small firms succeed and scale-up, while others do not.

Research Project
1 Aug 2019

Facilitating Innovative Growth of Low-Cost Private Schools: Experimental Evidence from Pakistan

The primary objective of this project, by Khwaja, Das and Andrabi (2019) is to understand what factors constrain growth and innovation in Low-Cost Private Schools (LCPS) with an emphasis on alleviating financial and educational quality in enhancing constraints.

Research Note
24 Jun 2019

The Impact of Monitoring Technologies on Contracts and Employee Behavior: Experimental Evidence from Kenya's Transit Industry

Agency theory suggests that moral hazard in employer-employee contracting constrains firm profits. Kelley et al.

Working Paper
6 Nov 2018

Mitigating Market Frictions by Monitoring Employees in SMEs: A Field Experiment in Kenya’s Public Transport Sector

Schoenholzer, Kelley, Lane and Wagacha (2018) provide firms a new technology that delivers real-time information to the owner of the vehicle about the driver’s productivity and safety. They find that owners use this information to change their management of drivers and re-optimize their contracts.

Research Note
7 Sep 2018

The Light and the Heat: Productivity Co-benefits of Energy-saving Technology

Measurement of the full costs and benefits of energy-saving technologies is often difficult, confounding adoption decisions. Adhvaryu et al. (2017) study consequences of the adoption of energy-efficient LED lighting in garment factories around Bangalore, India.

Working Paper
1 Feb 2018

It Takes Two: Experimental Evidence on the Determinants of Technology Diffusion

Previous studies of peer-to-peer technology diffusion have primarily focused on the decision of potential adopters. Often equally relevant for observed diffusion is the willingness of incumbent adopters to actively share technology.

Research Note
18 Jan 2018

Does Technical Efficiency Dominate Resource Reallocation in Aggregate Productivity Growth? Evidence from Swazi Manufacturing

Is the effect of input reallocation on aggregate productivity growth (APG) less than that of technical efficiency? A robust finding in two influential meta-analyses by Bartelsman et al. (2004) and Paǵes et al.

Working Paper
1 Jan 2018

Investment Dynamics, Unobserved Heterogeneity and Endogenous Investment Switching Regime in Manufacturing

This paper by Samuel V. Mhlanga (2018) investigates the industrial effects of true state dependence, the sales-to-capital ratio and unobserved heterogeneity on the rate of investment in plant, machinery and equipment (PME) in Swaziland. A range of fixed and random effects estimators are compared.

Working Paper
1 Jan 2018

Monitoring and Intrinsic Motivation: Evidence from Liberia’s Trucking Firms

Severe information asymmetries are thought to make contracting particularly difficult within (and across) firms in developing countries. Standard principal-agent theory predicts that a new monitoring technology provided at zero cost should be widely adopted and unambiguously raise workers’ effort.

Working Paper
19 Nov 2017