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Raising achievement among microentrepreneurs: An experimental test of goals, incentives, and support groups in Medellin, Colombia

Paulina Aguinaga, Alessandra Cassar, Jennifer Graham, Lauren Skora and Bruce Wydick

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2019, vol. 161, issue C, 79-97

Abstract: Inspired by the success of the California-based Family Independence Initiative (FII), we designed a field experiment to estimate the impact of an inexpensive program structured around goal-setting, small monetary incentives, and support groups on the achievement of business-related objectives. In collaboration with Medellin-based Bancos de las Opportunidades, we randomly assigned small business owners to one of four experimental groups that met regularly for six months and to two control groups. Our results show that the mere act of establishing a goal plays a large and significant role in individual outcomes. Yet, it was the full FII combination of goal-setting, monetary incentive, and group support that resulted in the highest level of total business sales, pointing to the existence of complementarities between economic, social, and psychological interventions. Our study contributes to the emerging literature demonstrating that low-cost interventions focused on the internal constraints of the poor can help facilitate pathways out of poverty.

Keywords: Field experiment; Goal setting; Incentives; Self-help groups (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 D03 D14 O10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.02.017

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