Hoping to Win, Expected to Lose: Theory and Lessons on Micro Enterprise Development
Many basic economic theories with perfectly functioning markets do not predict the existence of the vast number of microenterprises readily observed across the world. We put forward a model that illuminates why financial and managerial capital constraints may impede experimentation, and thus limit learning about the profitability of alternative firm sizes. The model shows how lack of information about one’s own type, but willingness to experiment to learn one’s type, may lead to short-run negative expected returns to investments on average, with some outliers succeeding. To test the model we put forward first a motivating experiment from Ghana, and second a small meta-analysis of other experiments. In the Ghana experiment, we provide inputs to microenterprises, specifically financial capital (a cash grant) and managerial capital (consulting services), to catalyze adoption of investments and practices aimed towards enterprise growth. We find that entrepreneurs invest the cash, and take the advice, but both lead to lower profits on average. In the long run, they revert back to their prior scale of operations. The small meta analysis includes results from 18 other experiments in which either capital or managerial capital were relaxed, and find mixed support for this theory.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2012|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (203) 432-3610
Fax: (203) 432-3898
Web page: http://www.econ.yale.edu/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Dean Karlan & Martin Valdivia, 2007.
"Teaching Entrepreneurship: Impact of Business Training on Microfinance Clients and Institutions,"
107, Center for Global Development.
- 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.
- Dean Karlan & Martin Valdivia, 2006. "Teaching entrepreneurship: Impact of business training on microfinance clients and institutions," Natural Field Experiments 00282, The Field Experiments Website.
- Karlan, Dean S. & Osei, Robert & Osei-Akoto, Isaac & Udry, Christopher, 2012.
"Agricultural Decisions after Relaxing Credit and Risk Constraints,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
9173, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- 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.
- Karlan, Dean & Osei-Akoto, Isaac & Osei, Robert Darko & Udry, Christopher, 2012. "Agricultural Decisions after Relaxing Credit and Risk Constraints," Working Papers 110, Yale University, Department of Economics.
- Dean Karlan & Robert Darko Osei & Isaac Osei-Akoto & Christopher Udry, 2012. "Agricultural Decisions after Relaxing Credit and Risk Constraints," NBER Working Papers 18463, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Christopher Udry & Santosh Anagol, 2006. "The Return to Capital in Ghana," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 388-393, May.
- 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.
- Christopher Udry & Santosh Anagol, 2006. "The Return to Capital in Ghana," Working Papers 932, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:1014. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Louise Danishevsky)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.