Paper: Consulting and Capital Experiments with Microenterprise Tailors in Ghana

We conducted a randomized trial in urban Ghana in which tailoring microenterprises received advice from an international consulting firm, cash, both, or neither. We designed the study with a hypothesis that large infusions of financial and managerial capital could be transformative. We find that all three treatments led to their immediate intended effects: changed business practices and increased investment. However, no treatment led to higher profits on average, and certainly not to the large effects hypothesized. In fact, each treatment at some point led to lower profits. Then, in the long run, we find that the microentrepreneurs in either consulting treatment group reverted back to their prior business practices, and that microentrepreneurs in the cash treatment group reverted back to their prior scale of operations.

Read the full paper