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Minding small change among small firms in Kenya

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  • Beaman, Lori
  • Magruder, Jeremy
  • Robinson, Jonathan

Abstract

Many micro-enterprises in Kenya have low productivity. We focus 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. Our estimates suggest that the average firm loses approximately 5–8% of total profits because they do not have enough change. We conducted two experiments to shed light on why this happens: surveying firms weekly about lost sales, thereby increasing the salience of change, and explicitly informing firms about lost sales. We find that both interventions significantly altered change management and reduced lost sales. This largely rules out many potential explanations such as the risk of theft or the costs of holding change being too high. One explanation consistent with firms' response to the survey and information on their lost sales is that firms were not perfectly attentive to change management prior to the interventions.

Suggested Citation

  • Beaman, Lori & Magruder, Jeremy & Robinson, Jonathan, 2014. "Minding small change among small firms in Kenya," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 69-86.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:108:y:2014:i:c:p:69-86
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2013.12.010
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Arunachalam, Raj & Shenoy, Ajay, 2017. "Poverty traps, convergence, and the dynamics of household income," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 215-230.
    3. Emily A. Beam & David McKenzie & Dean Yang, 2016. "Unilateral Facilitation Does Not Raise International Labor Migration from the Philippines," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(2), pages 323-368.
    4. Mayneris, Florian & Poncet, Sandra & Zhang, Tao, 2018. "Improving or disappearing: Firm-level adjustments to minimum wages in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 20-42.
    5. Singh, Nirvikar, 2018. "Financial Inclusion: Concepts, Issues and Policies for India," MPRA Paper 91047, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. David Atkin & Azam Chaudhry & Shamyla Chaudry & Amit K. Khandelwal & Eric Verhoogen, 2017. "Organizational Barriers to Technology Adoption: Evidence from Soccer-Ball Producers in Pakistan," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(3), pages 1101-1164.
    7. repec:tpr:restat:v:101:y:2019:i:4:p:645-657 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Kondor, Péter & Koren, Miklós & Pál, Jenő & Szeidl, Ádám, 2014. "Cégek kapcsolati hálózatainak gazdasági szerepe
      [The economic role of the networks of connections possessed by firms]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(11), pages 1341-1360.
    9. repec:eee:tefoso:v:131:y:2018:i:c:p:326-335 is not listed on IDEAS

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