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

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  • Fafchamps, Marcel
  • Woodruff, Christopher

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 potential. We find that a measure of ability correlates strongly with future growth, but that 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

  • Fafchamps, Marcel & Woodruff, Christopher, 2015. "Identifying Gazelles: Expert Panels vs. Surveys as a Means to Identify Firms with Rapid Growth Potential," CEPR Discussion Papers 10597, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10597
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Luís M B Cabral & José Mata, 2003. "On the Evolution of the Firm Size Distribution: Facts and Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1075-1090, September.
    2. David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2014. "What Are We Learning from Business Training and Entrepreneurship Evaluations around the Developing World?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 29(1), pages 48-82.
    3. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ronald S. Jarmin & C.J. Krizan & Javier Miranda & Alfred Nucci & Kristin Sandusky, 2009. "Measuring the Dynamics of Young and Small Businesses: Integrating the Employer and Nonemployer Universes," NBER Chapters,in: Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data, pages 329-366 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2015. "Business Practices in Small Firms in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 21505, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Erin L. Scott & Pian Shu & Roman M. Lubynsky, 2015. "Are “Better” Ideas More Likely to Succeed? An Empirical Analysis of Startup Evaluation," Harvard Business School Working Papers 16-013, Harvard Business School.
    3. Marcel Fafchamps & Simon Quinn, 2017. "Aspire," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(10), pages 1615-1633, October.
    4. Dalton, Patricio & Rüschenpöhler, Julius & Zia, Bilal, 2018. "Determinants and Dynamics of Business Aspirations : Evidence from Small-scale Entrepreneurs in an Emerging Market," Discussion Paper 2018-009, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    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. 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.
    7. David McKenzie, 2017. "Identifying and Spurring High-Growth Entrepreneurship: Experimental Evidence from a Business Plan Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(8), pages 2278-2307, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    business plan competitions; firm growth; high growth entrepreneurship;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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