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Returns to Capital in Microenterprises: Evidence from a Field Experiment

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Listed:
  • Suresh de Mel
  • David McKenzie
  • Christopher Woodruff

Abstract

We use randomized grants to generate shocks to capital stock for a set of Sri Lankan microenterprises. We find the average real return to capital in these enterprises is 4.6%–5.3% per year), substantially higher than market interest rates. We then examine the heterogeneity of treatment effects. Returns are found to vary with entrepreneurial ability and with household wealth, but not to vary with measures of risk aversion or uncertainty. Treatment impacts are also significantly larger for enterprises owned by males; indeed, we find no positive return in enterprises owned by females.

Suggested Citation

  • Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2008. "Returns to Capital in Microenterprises: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1329-1372.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:123:y:2008:i:4:p:1329-1372.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/qjec.2008.123.4.1329
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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