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The Returns to Microenterprise Support among the Ultrapoor: A Field Experiment in Postwar Uganda

Author

Listed:
  • Christopher Blattman
  • Eric P. Green
  • Julian Jamison
  • M. Christian Lehmann
  • Jeannie Annan

Abstract

We show that extremely poor, war-affected women in northern Uganda have high returns to a package of $150 cash, five days of business skills training, and ongoing supervision. Sixteen months after grants, participants doubled their microenterprise ownership and incomes, mainly from petty trading. We also show these ultrapoor have too little social capital, but that group bonds, informal insurance, and cooperative activities could be induced and had positive returns. When the control group received cash and training 20 months later, we varied supervision, which represented half of the program costs. A year later, supervision increased business survival but not consumption. (JEL I38, J16, J23, J24, L26, O15, Z13)

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Blattman & Eric P. Green & Julian Jamison & M. Christian Lehmann & Jeannie Annan, 2016. "The Returns to Microenterprise Support among the Ultrapoor: A Field Experiment in Postwar Uganda," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 35-64, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:8:y:2016:i:2:p:35-64
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.20150023
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:oup:qjecon:v:129:y:2014:i:2:p:697-752. is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Christopher Blattman & Nathan Fiala & Sebastian Martinez, 2014. "Generating Skilled Self-Employment in Developing Countries: Experimental Evidence from Uganda," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(2), pages 697-752.
    3. Joseph P. Kaboski & Robert M. Townsend, 2011. "A Structural Evaluation of a Large‐Scale Quasi‐Experimental Microfinance Initiative," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1357-1406, September.
    4. Edward Miguel & Michael Kremer, 2004. "Worms: Identifying Impacts on Education and Health in the Presence of Treatment Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 159-217, January.
    5. Udry, Christopher, 2010. "The economics of agriculture in Africa: Notes toward a research program," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 5(1), pages 1-16, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Emla Fitzsimons & Bansi Malde & Marcos Vera-Hernández, 2016. "Spillovers of Community-Based Health Interventions on Consumption Smoothing," Studies in Economics 1611, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    2. repec:pal:eurjdr:v:30:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1057_s41287-017-0085-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Mckenzie,David J. & Paffhausen,Anna Luisa & Mckenzie,David J. & Paffhausen,Anna Luisa, 2017. "Small firm death in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8236, The World Bank.
    4. Christopher Blattman & Nathan Fiala & Sebastian Martinez, 2018. "The Long Term Impacts of Grants on Poverty: 9-year Evidence From Uganda's Youth Opportunities Program," NBER Working Papers 24999, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Björn Nilsson, 2019. "The School-to-Work Transition in Developing Countries," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(5), pages 745-764, May.
    6. Christopher Blattman & Julian C. Jamison & Margaret Sheridan, 2015. "Reducing crime and violence: Experimental evidence from cognitive behavioral therapy in Liberia," NBER Working Papers 21204, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. repec:eee:deveco:v:135:y:2018:i:c:p:255-271 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Farah Said, 2016. "Access to Finance and Agency: An Overview of the Constraints to Female-Run Enterprises," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 21(Special E), pages 331-349, September.
    9. Vilas J. Gobin & Paulo Santos & Russell Toth, 2016. "Poverty graduation with cash transfers: a randomized evaluation," Monash Economics Working Papers 23-16, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    10. repec:jtc:journl:v:4:y:2019:i:1:p:27-39 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Abhijit Banerjee & Dean Karlan & Robert Darko Osei & Hannah Trachtman & Christopher Udry, 2018. "Unpacking a Multi-Faceted Program to Build Sustainable Income for the Very Poor," NBER Working Papers 24271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Ambler, Kate & de Brauw, Alan & Godlonton, Susan, 2017. "Cash transfers and management advice for agriculture: Evidence from Senegal:," IFPRI discussion papers 1659, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    13. repec:eee:deveco:v:138:y:2019:i:c:p:205-227 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:eee:wdevel:v:113:y:2019:i:c:p:352-367 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:tpr:restat:v:101:y:2019:i:4:p:645-657 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. repec:eee:jhecon:v:62:y:2018:i:c:p:105-120 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. repec:eee:deveco:v:128:y:2017:i:c:p:24-48 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Burchi, Francesco & Strupat, Christoph, 2018. "Unbundling the impacts of economic empowerment programmes: evidence from Malawi," Discussion Papers 32/2018, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE).
    19. repec:eee:deveco:v:133:y:2018:i:c:p:42-65 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Francisco J. Buera & Joseph P. Kaboski & Yongseok Shin, 2016. "Taking Stock of the Evidence on Micro-Financial Interventions," NBER Working Papers 22674, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. repec:eee:jobuve:v:9:y:2018:i:c:p:137-144 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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