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Can business owners form accurate counterfactuals ? eliciting treatment and control beliefs about their outcomes in the alternative treatment status

David J. Mckenzie and David J. Mckenzie
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: David Mckenzie ()

No 7668, Policy Research Working Paper Series from The World Bank

Abstract: A survey of participants in a large-scale business plan competition experiment, in which winners received an average of US$50,000 each, is used to elicit beliefs about what the outcomes would have been in the alternative treatment status. Participants are asked the percent chance they would be operating a firm, and the number of employees and monthly sales they would have, had their treatment status been reversed. The study finds the control group to have reasonably accurate expectations of the large treatment effect they would experience on the likelihood of operating a firm, although this may reflect the treatment effect being close to an upper bound. The control group dramatically overestimates how much winning would help them grow the size of their firm. The treatment group overestimates how much winning helps their chance of running a business, and also overestimates how much winning helps them grow their firms. In addition, these counterfactual expectations appear unable to generate accurate relative rankings of which groups of participants benefit most from treatment.

Keywords: Educational Sciences; Private Sector Economics; Private Sector Development Law; Marketing; Gender and Development; Vocational&Technical Education; Skills Development and Labor Force Training (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-bec
Date: 2016-05-10
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Working Paper: Can Business Owners Form Accurate Counterfactuals? Eliciting Treatment and Control Beliefs about Their Outcomes in the Alternative Treatment Status (2016) Downloads
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