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Identifying Gazelles: Expert Panels vs. Surveys as a Means to Identify Firms with Rapid Growth Potential

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  • Marcel Fafchamps
  • Christopher Woodruff

Abstract

We conduct a business plan competition to test whether survey instruments or panel judges are able to identify the fastest growing firms. Participants submitted six- to eight-page business plans and defended them before a three- or four-judge panel. We surveyed applicants shortly after they applied and one and two years after the competition. We use follow-up surveys to construct measures of enterprise growth and baseline surveys and panel scores to construct measures of enterprise growth potential. We find that a measure of ability correlates strongly with future growth, but that the panel scores add to predictive power even after controlling for ability and other survey variables. The survey questions have more power to explain the variance in growth. Participants presenting before the panel were given a chance to win customized management training. Fourteen months after the training, we find no positive effect of the training on growth of the business.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcel Fafchamps & Christopher Woodruff, 2017. "Identifying Gazelles: Expert Panels vs. Surveys as a Means to Identify Firms with Rapid Growth Potential," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 31(3), pages 670-686.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:31:y:2017:i:3:p:670-686.
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    Cited by:

    1. González-Uribe, Juanita & Reyes, Santiago, 2021. "Identifying and boosting “Gazelles”: Evidence from business accelerators," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 139(1), pages 260-287.
    2. McKenzie, David & Sansone, Dario, 2019. "Predicting entrepreneurial success is hard: Evidence from a business plan competition in Nigeria," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 141(C).
    3. Fernando Vega-Redondo & Paolo Pin & Diego Ubfal & Cristiana Benedetti-Fasil & Charles Brummitt & Gaia Rubera & Dirk Hovy & Tommaso Fornaciari, 2019. "Peer Networks and Entrepreneurship: a Pan-African RCT," Working Papers 648, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    4. Dalton, Patricio & Rüschenpöhler, Julius & Zia, Bilal, 2018. "Aspirations of Small-scale Entrepreneurs : Evidence from Urban Retailers in Indonesia," Other publications TiSEM bc573b53-32a8-497b-a67d-d, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    5. Xinshen Diao & Josaphat Kweka & Margaret McMillan, 2016. "Economic Transformation in Africa from the Bottom Up: Evidence from Tanzania," NBER Working Papers 22889, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Gonzalez-Uribe, Juanita & Reyes, Santiago, 2021. "Identifying and boosting “gazelles”: evidence from business accelerators," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 103145, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Jean-Philippe Berrou & François Combarnous, 2018. "Beyond Solidarity and Accumulation Networks in Urban Informal African Economies," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 30(4), pages 652-675, September.
    8. Mia Ellis & Margaret McMillan & Jed Silver, 2017. "Employment and productivity growth in Tanzania’s service sector," WIDER Working Paper Series 016, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    9. Dalton,Patricio S. & Ruschenpohler,Julius & Zia,Bilal Husnain, 2018. "Determinants and dynamics of business aspirations : evidence from small-scale entrepreneurs in an emerging market," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8400, The World Bank.
    10. Hossain, Marup & Mabiso, Athur & Garbero, Alessandra, 2022. "Matching grants and economic activities among horticultural entrepreneurs: Long-term evidence from Rwanda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 150(C).
    11. Erin L. Scott & Pian Shu & Roman M. Lubynsky, 2020. "Entrepreneurial Uncertainty and Expert Evaluation: An Empirical Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(3), pages 1278-1299, March.
    12. Olivier Sterck & Antonia Delius, 2020. "Cash Transfers and Micro-Enterprise Performance: Theory and Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Kenya," CSAE Working Paper Series 2020-09, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    13. McKenzie, David J. & Sansone, Dario, 2017. "Man vs. Machine in Predicting Successful Entrepreneurs: Evidence from a Business Plan Competition in Nigeria," CEPR Discussion Papers 12523, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Brian McCaig & Nina Pavcnik, 2021. "Entry and Exit of Informal Firms and Development," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 69(3), pages 540-575, September.
    15. Oriana Bandiera & Robin Burgess & Erika Deserranno & Ricardo Morel & Imran Rasul & Munshi Sulaiman & Jack Thiemel, 2022. "Microfinance and Diversification," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 89(S1), pages 239-275, June.
    16. Diao, Xinshen & Kweka, Josaphat & McMillan, Margaret, 2018. "Small firms, structural change and labor productivity growth in Africa: Evidence from Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 400-415.
    17. Grimm, Michael & Soubeiga, Sidiki & Weber, Michael, 2021. "Short-Term Impacts of Targeted Cash Grants and Business Development Services: Experimental Evidence from Entrepreneurs in Burkina Faso," IZA Discussion Papers 14892, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    18. Yoonyoung Cho, 2015. "Entrepreneurship for the poor in developing countries," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 167-167, July.
    19. Kovács, Olivér, 2020. "Gazellák az iparpolitika tükrében, I [Gazelles and industrial policy, Part 1]," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(1), pages 54-87.
    20. Henrik Hansen & John Rand & Finn Tarp & Neda Trifkovic, 2021. "On the Link Between Managerial Attributes and Firm Access to Formal Credit in Myanmar," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 33(6), pages 1768-1794, December.
    21. Mia Ellis & Margaret McMillan & Jed Silver, 2017. "Employment and productivity growth in Tanzania's service sector," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2017-16, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    22. Lall, Saurabh A. & Chen, Li-Wei & Roberts, Peter W., 2020. "Are we accelerating equity investment into impact-oriented ventures?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 131(C).
    23. Jean-Philippe Berrou & Damien Girollet, 2019. "A la recherche des « gazelles » du secteur informel urbain africain. Entreprises et entrepreneurs à fort potentiel dans leur environnement socioéconomique et numérique," Working Papers hal-02507441, HAL.
    24. Gonzalez-Uribe, Juanita & Hmaddi, Ouafaa, 2022. "The multi-dimensional impacts of business accelerators: what does the research tell us?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 115461, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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