Identifying policies and programs that increase private sector firms’ productivity and growth may have important consequences for development and poverty alleviation. J-PAL’s Firms sector seeks to evaluate what works best in generating firm growth and raising productivity. The sector also seeks to test the impact of these policies on employee welfare, the environment, and the broader economy.
J-PAL affiliates’ research in this sector focuses on understanding and relieving constraints to generating firm growth. Topics of study include the impacts of management practice improvements, the impacts of policies that facilitate access to markets and global value chains, effective policy levers for firm expansion, and the importance of large firms in generating employment. We hope that new research in the sector will explore the role that firms play in driving economic growth, whether the size of firms generates or reduces inequality, and whether firms’ gains trickle down to their employees.
In addition to supporting policymakers in applying evidence from randomized evaluations to their work, sector chairs and staff write evaluation summaries and policy publications that synthesize general lessons emerging from the research.
Research from randomized evaluations can shed light on some of the benefits of working from home for employees and their employers—and best practices for those of us looking to maximize our productivity while preserving some work-life balance.
Business skills training programs increased microentrepreneurs’ use of business best practices, but in most cases, there were no significant changes in their profits.
Too complicated, too confusing: why more small businesses aren’t applying for coronavirus relief loans, and what we can do to reach them
Economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19 will depend on the survival of businesses, yet many at-risk small businesses struggle to reach the SBA’s financial lifeboat. How might policymakers encourage emergency relief loan applications from the most vulnerable small businesses?
Economists have long identified large differences in productivity between countries and between firms. One potential explanation for the persistent gap is that some firms have better management practices than others.
Researchers partnered with Aid to Artisans (ATA), a US-based nonprofit, and Hamis Carpets, an Egypt-based distributor, to provide small-scale rug manufacturers the opportunity to export to high-income countries. Offering small firms the opportunity to export rugs to high-income markets increased...
Can foreign multinationals improve the enforcement of local workplace safety laws? Evidence from the apparel sector in Bangladesh
A researcher partnered with the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a consortium formed by US multinational companies, to evaluate the impact of privately enforcing local labor laws on garment factories in Bangladesh. Enforcing the legally-required creation and operation of workplace safety...