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Testing alternative measures of microenterprise profits and net worth


  • Lisa Daniels

    (Department of Economics, Washington College, Chestertown MD, U. S. A.)


Using data from 448 microenterprises in Zimbabwe, this paper examines five alternative measures of profits and five alternative measures of net worth. The results show that the single-question proxies are too difficult for proprietors to answer, whereas the most complex profit measures generate many negative estimates. The best measure of profits, based on three questions, could be answered by all proprietors and it avoids recall problems associated with sales and expenses. Among the net worth proxies, all of the measures are positively correlated. Nonetheless, the proxy based on fixed assets, accounts receivable, debt, and inventory, showed the highest correlation with the full measure of net worth. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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  • Lisa Daniels, 2001. "Testing alternative measures of microenterprise profits and net worth," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(5), pages 599-614.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:13:y:2001:i:5:p:599-614 DOI: 10.1002/jid.781

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daniels, Lisa & Mead, Donald C, 1998. "The Contribution of Small Enterprises to Household and National Income in Kenya," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(1), pages 45-71, October.
    2. Vijverberg, W., 1988. "Profits From Self-Employment - A Case Study Of Cote D'Ivoire," Papers 43, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ali, Merima & Peerlings, Jack, 2011. "Value Added of Cluster Membership for Micro Enterprises of the Handloom Sector in Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 363-374, March.
    2. Martijn Adriaan Boermans & Daan Willebrands, 2017. "Entrepreneurship, risk perception and firm performance," International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 31(4), pages 557-569.
    3. Masakure, Oliver & Cranfield, John & Henson, Spencer, 2008. "The Financial Performance of Non-farm Microenterprises in Ghana," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 2733-2762, December.
    4. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2007. "Measuring microenterprise profits : don't ask how the sausage is made," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4229, The World Bank.
    5. De Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David, 2014. "Radio Frequency (Un)Identification: Results from a Proof-of-Concept Trial of the use of RFID Technology to Measure Microenterprise Turnover in Sri Lanka," CEPR Discussion Papers 10225, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Pascaline Dupas & Jonathan Robinson, 2013. "Savings Constraints and Microenterprise Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 163-192, January.
    7. Martijn Boermans & Daan Willebrands, 2012. "Financial constraints, risk taking and firm performance: Recent evidence from microfinance clients in Tanzania," DNB Working Papers 358, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    8. Willebrands, Daan & Lammers, Judith & Hartog, Joop, 2012. "A successful businessman is not a gambler. Risk attitude and business performance among small enterprises in Nigeria," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 342-354.
    9. Maazullah, & Bedi, Arjun S., 2017. "Returns to Islamic Microfinance: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Pakistan," IZA Discussion Papers 10965, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. 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.

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