Policy Insights in Firms

J-PAL’s Firms sector seeks to understand how to best help firms grow, and the impact of firms on workers’ wellbeing in and out of the workplace. Our policy insights below summarize general lessons from randomized evaluations on business skills training and consulting programs, and programs that aim to encourage the registration of informal firms.
David Atkin (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Jing Cai (University of Maryland), Firms Co-Chairs
Vendors sell good from multi-colored stalls.
Photo: Radiokafka | Shutterstock.com
View: Policy insights by sector

Encouraging micro and small enterprises to formalize

Last updated: julho 2022
Informal firms are defined as those that operate outside of the legal and regulatory system and are therefore not registered for the required business operating licenses. Operating formally may allow firms to grow by expanding their customer base, paying fewer fines, and gaining access to more...

Business Training and Consulting Management practices are thought to play an important role in firm growth, and giving firm owners access to subsidized business training services and consulting could be one way to support their growth. Business training programs tend to teach standard best practices in a classroom setting, such as record keeping and conducting market research, while consultants work closely with firms to identify areas for potential improvement and to support the implementation of recommended actions.

Teaching business skills to support microentrepreneurs

Last updated: setembro 2023
Traditional business skills training programs lead to modest increases in microentrepreneurs’ profits and sales. Alternative training programs can lead to larger impacts, but some programs require more definitive evidence of their effectiveness.

Supporting firm growth through consulting and business training

Last updated: dezembro 2019
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.

Sector Chairs

david atkin

Co-Líder, Firmas

Professor of Economics

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Co-Líder, Firmas

Associate Professor

University of Maryland

Sector Contacts

Ying Gao

Senior Policy Manager, J-PAL Global