IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Pathways to profits : identifying separate channels of small firm growth through business training


  • Anderson,Stephen J.
  • Chandy,Rajesh
  • Zia,Bilal Husnain


This paper identifies separate and unique pathways to profits among small businesses in South Africa that are exposed to marketing or finance training in a randomized control study. The marketing group achieves greater profits by adopting a growth focus on higher sales, greater investments in stock and materials, and hiring more employees. The finance group achieves similar profit gains but through an efficiency focus on lower costs. Both groups show significantly higher adoption of business practices related to their respective training program. Consistent with a growth focus, marketing/sales skills are significantly more beneficial to firm owners who ex ante have less exposure to different business contexts. In contrast and in line with an efficiency focus, entrepreneurs who have been running more established businesses prior to training benefit significantly more from finance/accounting skills.

Suggested Citation

  • Anderson,Stephen J. & Chandy,Rajesh & Zia,Bilal Husnain, 2016. "Pathways to profits : identifying separate channels of small firm growth through business training," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7774, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:7774

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:pri:rpdevs:hammer_the_impact_of_recall_periods_on_reported_morbidity_and_health_seeking_behavior.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
    2. 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.
    3. Olinto, Pedro & Beegle, Kathleen & Sobrado, Carlos & Uematsu, Hiroki, 2013. "The State of the Poor: Where Are The Poor, Where Is Extreme Poverty Harder to End, and What Is the Current Profile of the World’s Poor?," World Bank - Economic Premise, The World Bank, issue 125, pages 1-8, October.
    4. Beegle, Kathleen & De Weerdt, Joachim & Friedman, Jed & Gibson, John, 2012. "Methods of household consumption measurement through surveys: Experimental results from Tanzania," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 3-18.
    5. Bound, John & Brown, Charles & Mathiowetz, Nancy, 2001. "Measurement error in survey data," Handbook of Econometrics,in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 59, pages 3705-3843 Elsevier.
    6. Anonymous, 2000. "Agricultural Economics Volumes 1-22, 1986-2000," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 23(2), August.
    7. de Nicola, Francesca & Giné, Xavier, 2014. "How accurate are recall data? Evidence from coastal India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 52-65.
    8. Deininger, Klaus & Carletto, Calogero & Savastano, Sara & Muwonge, James, 2011. "Can diaries help improve agricultural production statistics ? Evidence from Uganda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5717, The World Bank.
    9. Beegle, Kathleen & Carletto, Calogero & Himelein, Kristen, 2012. "Reliability of recall in agricultural data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 34-41.
    10. Kathleen Beegle & Luc Christiaensen & Andrew Dabalen & Isis Gaddis, 2016. "Poverty in a Rising Africa," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 22575, March.
    11. repec:oup:qjecon:v:129:y:2014:i:2:p:939-993. is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Joachim De Weerdt & Kathleen Beegle & Jed Friedman & John Gibson, 2016. "The Challenge of Measuring Hunger through Survey," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(4), pages 727-758.
    13. Menon, Geeta, 1993. " The Effects of Accessibility of Information in Memory on Judgments of Behavioral Frequency," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(3), pages 431-440, December.
    14. Das, Jishnu & Hammer, Jeffrey & Sánchez-Paramo, Carolina, 2012. "The impact of recall periods on reported morbidity and health seeking behavior," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 76-88.
    15. Backiny-Yetna,Prospere R. & Yacoubou Djima,Ismael & Steele,Diane E., 2014. "The impact of household food consumption data collection methods on poverty and inequality measures in Niger," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7090, The World Bank.
    16. Henri L.F de Groot, 2000. "Growth, Unemployment and Deindustrialization," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1946.
    17. Douglas Gollin & David Lagakos & Michael E. Waugh, 2014. "The Agricultural Productivity Gap," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(2), pages 939-993.
    18. Brian Dillon, 2012. "Using mobile phones to collect panel data in developing countries," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(4), pages 518-527, May.
    19. Godlonton, Susan & Hernandez, Manuel A. & Murphy, Mike, 2016. "Anchoring bias in recall data: Evidence from Central America:," IFPRI discussion papers 1534, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    20. Glewwe, Paul, 2000. "Minnesota Agricultural Economist 701," Minnesota Applied Economist/Minnesota Agricultural Economist 13209, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
    21. Chen, Shaohua & Ravallion, Martin, 2007. "Absolute poverty measures for the developing world, 1981-2004," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4211, The World Bank.
    22. Bergman, Oscar & Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus & Svensson, Cicek, 2010. "Anchoring and cognitive ability," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 66-68, April.
    23. Fermont, Anneke & Benson, Todd, 2011. "Estimating yield of food crops grown by smallholder farmers: A review in the Uganda context," IFPRI discussion papers 1097, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    24. Arthi, Vellore & Fenske, James, 2016. "Intra-household labor allocation in colonial Nigeria," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 69-92.
    25. Susan Godlonton & Manuel A. Hernandez & Mike Murphy, 2016. "Anchoring Bias in Recall Data: Evidence from Central America," Department of Economics Working Papers 2016-11, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Technology Innovation; Technology Industry;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:7774. 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: (Roula I. Yazigi). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.