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The Impact of Consulting Services on Small and Medium Enterprises: Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Mexico

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  • Bruhn, Miriam
  • Karlan, Dean S.
  • Schoar, Antoinette S

Abstract

We test whether managerial human capital has a first order effect on the performance and growth of small enterprises in emerging markets. In a randomized control trial in Puebla, Mexico, we randomly assigned 150 out of 432 small and medium size enterprises to receive subsidized consulting services, while the remaining 267 enterprises served as a control group that did not receive any subsidized training. Treatment enterprises were matched with one of nine local consulting firms and met with their consultants once a week for four hours over a one year period. Results from a follow-up survey, conducted after the intervention, show that the consulting services had a large impact on the performance of the enterprises in the treatment group: monthly sales went up by about 80 percent; similarly, profits and productivity increased by 120 percent compared to the control group. We also see a significant increase in the entrepreneurial spirit index for the treatment group, a set of questions designed to elicit the SME owners’ confidence in their ability to manage their business and deal with any future difficulties. However, we do not find any significant increase in the number of workers employed in the treatment group.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8887.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8887

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Keywords: enterprise growth; entrepreneurship; managerial capital;

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References

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  1. Shawn Cole & Thomas Sampson & Bilal Zia, 2011. "Prices or Knowledge? What Drives Demand for Financial Services in Emerging Markets?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(6), pages 1933-1967, December.
  2. Dean Karlan & Christopher Udry & Isaac Osei-Akoto & Robert Darko Osei, 2012. "Agricultural Decisions after Relaxing Credit and Risk Constraints," Working Papers 1019, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  3. Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2010. "Why do management practices differ across firms and countries?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 47491, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Bloom, Nicholas & Eifert, Benn & Mahajan, Aprajit & McKenzie, David & Roberts, John, 2010. "Does Management Matter?: Evidence from India," Research Papers 2074, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  5. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2007. "Returns to capital in microenterprises : evidence from a field experiment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4230, The World Bank.
  6. Nick Bloom & Carol Propper & Stephan Seiler & John Van Reenen, 2010. "Management practices in the NHS," CentrePiece - The Magazine for Economic Performance 305, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Miriam Bruhn & Dean Karlan & Antoinette Schoar, 2010. "What Capital Is Missing in Developing Countries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 629-33, May.
  8. Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2006. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," NBER Working Papers 12216, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Morten Bennedsen & Kasper Meisner Nielsen & Francisco Pérez-González & Daniel Wolfenzon, 2007. "Inside the Family Firm: the Role of Families in Succession Decisions and Performance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(2), pages 647-691, 05.
  10. Dean Karlan & Martin Valdivia, 2011. "Teaching Entrepreneurship: Impact of Business Training on Microfinance Clients and Institutions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 510-527, May.
  11. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David J. & Woodruff, Christopher, 2009. "Measuring microenterprise profits: Must we ask how the sausage is made?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 19-31, January.
  12. Bruhn, Miriam & Zia, Bilal, 2011. "Stimulating managerial capital in emerging markets : the impact of business and financial literacy for young entrepreneurs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5642, The World Bank.
  13. Nicholas Bloom & Christos Genakos & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2011. "Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp1109, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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