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Teaching entrepreneurship: Impact of business training on microfinance clients and institutions

  • Dean Karlan
  • Martin Valdivia

Most academic and development policy discussions about microentrepreneurs focus on credit constraints and assume that subject to those constraints, the entrepreneurs manage their business optimally. Yet the self-employed poor rarely have any formal training in business skills. A growing number of microfinance organizations are attempting to build the human capital of microentrepreneurs in order to improve the livelihood of their clients and help further their mission of poverty alleviation. Using a randomized control trial, we measure the marginal impact of adding business training to a Peruvian group lending program for female microentrepreneurs. Treatment groups received thirty- to sixty-minute entrepreneurship training sessions during their normal weekly or monthly banking meeting over a period of one to two years. Control groups remained as they were before, meeting at the same frequency but solely for making loan and savings payments. We find little or no evidence of changes in key outcomes such as business revenue, profits, or employment. We nevertheless observed business knowledge improvements and increased client retention rates for the microfinance institution.

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Paper provided by The Field Experiments Website in its series Natural Field Experiments with number 00282.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00282
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  1. Signe-Mary McKernan, 2002. "The Impact Of Microcredit Programs On Self-Employment Profits: Do Noncredit Program Aspects Matter?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 93-115, February.
  2. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-98, April.
  3. Eric V. Edmonds, 2005. "Does Child Labor Decline with Improving Economic Status?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(1).
  4. Edmonds, Eric V., 2006. "Child labor and schooling responses to anticipated income in South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 386-414, December.
  5. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  6. Copestake, James, 2002. "Unfinished Business: The Need for More Effective Microfinance Exit Monitoring," Working Papers 23752, University of Sussex, Imp-Act: Improving the Impact of Microfinance on Poverty: Action Research Program.
  7. Paulson, Anna L. & Townsend, Robert, 2004. "Entrepreneurship and financial constraints in Thailand," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 229-262, March.
  8. Jean-Marie Baland & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Is Child Labor Inefficient?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 663-679, August.
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