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The Impact of Consulting Services on Small and Medium Enterprises: Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Mexico

  • Bruhn, Miriam

    (World Bank)

  • Karlan, Dean

    (Yale University)

  • Schoar, Antoinette

    (MIT)

We test whether managerial human capital has a first order effect on the performance and growth of small enterprises in emerging markets. In a randomized control trial in Puebla, Mexico, we randomly assigned 150 out of 432 small and medium size enterprises to receive subsidized consulting services, while the remaining 267 enterprises served as a control group that did not receive any subsidized training. Treatment enterprises were matched with one of nine local consulting firms and met with their consultants once a week for four hours over a one year period. Results from a follow-up survey, conducted after the intervention, show that the consulting services had a large impact on the performance of the enterprises in the treatment group: monthly sales went up by about 80 percent; similarly, profits and productivity increased by 120 percent compared to the control group. We also see a significant increase in the entrepreneurial spirit index for the treatment group, a set of questions designed to illicit the SME owners' confidence in their ability to manage their business and deal with any future difficulties. However, we do not find any significant increase in the number of workers employed in the treatment group.

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Paper provided by Yale University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 100.

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Date of creation: Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:yaleco:100
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  1. Dean Karlan, Robert Osei, Isaac Osei-Akoto, and Christopher Udry, 2012. "Agricultural Decisions after Relaxing Credit and Risk Constraints," Working Papers 310, Center for Global Development.
  2. Morten Bennedsen & Kasper Meisner Nielsen & Francisco Pérez-González & Daniel Wolfenzon, 2007. "Inside the Family Firm: the Role of Families in Succession Decisions and Performance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(2), pages 647-691, 05.
  3. Bruhn, Miriam & Zia, Bilal, 2011. "Stimulating managerial capital in emerging markets : the impact of business and financial literacy for young entrepreneurs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5642, The World Bank.
  4. Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2007. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1351-1408, November.
  5. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2007. "Returns to Capital in Microenterprises: Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 2934, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Nicholas Bloom & Benn Eifert & Aprajit Mahajan & David McKenzie & John Roberts, 2011. "Does Management Matter? Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 16658, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Dean Karlan & Martin Valdivia, 2011. "Teaching Entrepreneurship: Impact of Business Training on Microfinance Clients and Institutions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 510-527, May.
  8. Shawn Cole & Thomas Sampson & Bilal Zia, 2011. "Prices or Knowledge? What Drives Demand for Financial Services in Emerging Markets?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(6), pages 1933-1967, December.
  9. Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2010. "Why Do Management Practices Differ across Firms and Countries?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(1), pages 203-24, Winter.
  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.
  11. Miriam Bruhn & Dean Karlan & Antoinette Schoar, 2010. "What Capital Is Missing in Developing Countries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 629-33, May.
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