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The Catch-22 of External Validity in the Context of Constraints to Firm Growth

Author

Listed:
  • Dean Karlan

    () (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

  • Greg Fischer

    () (London School of Economics)

Abstract

We document the presence of multiple and varied constraints to small and medium firm growth. This presents both a practical problem for business training programs and a challenge to academic economists trying to identify mechanisms though which these programs may affect outcomes. External validity needs theory. This pushes researchers to narrowly defined and highly selected sample frames, which limits the potential for clear, generalizable policy prescriptions. Ultimately, larger samples, multi-arm evaluations, process documentation, and narrowly-focused, theory-supported empirical work are all needed, but the complexity of the problem limits what we learn from any single study.

Suggested Citation

  • Dean Karlan & Greg Fischer, 2015. "The Catch-22 of External Validity in the Context of Constraints to Firm Growth," Working Papers 1045, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:1045
    as

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    File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp1045.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. repec:pri:rpdevs:deaton_instruments_randomization_learning_all_04april_2010 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Angus Deaton, 2010. "Instruments, Randomization, and Learning about Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 424-455, June.
    3. repec:oup:qjecon:v:128:y:2012:i:1:p:1-51 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Michael Kremer, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-575.
    5. 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.
    6. Miriam Bruhn & Dean Karlan & Antoinette Schoar, 2010. "What Capital Is Missing in Developing Countries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 629-633, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Robert T. Jensen & Nolan H. Miller, 2018. "Market Integration, Demand and the Growth of Firms: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in India," Working Papers id:12824, eSocialSciences.
    2. Diego Ubfal & Irani Arraiz & Diether Beuermann & Michael Frese & Alessandro Maffioli & Daniel Verch, 2019. "The Impact of Soft-Skills Training for Entrepreneurs in Jamaica," Working Papers 645, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    external validity; entrepreneurship; entrepreneurship training;

    JEL classification:

    • B4 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • M1 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration
    • M2 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics
    • M3 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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