News and Announcements
David Birch of MIT, who labeled small firms that grow rapidly as gazelles in the ‘90s, shocked the world as his study showed that only 4% of the companies generated 70% of the jobs in the U.S. Since then, the study of gazelles has proliferated, and most of it concludes that promoting entrepreneurship is important because almost all net job creation is achieved by a disproportionately small group of firms. However, Nobuyuki Otsuka explains that there are somewhat conflicting viewpoints yet to be reconciled.
Roughly two billion people in the world live on $2 a day or less. Of these a staggering 50 per cent are estimated to be micro entrepreneurs, running a small business to make ends meet but employing only a handful of people. If just a small proportion of these entrepreneurs were encouraged to grow and invest in their business, and hire more employees, it could transform the fortunes of the developing economies, and billions of people living in poverty. In this article, Stephen Anderson-Macdonald discusses the "Managerial Capital and Business Transformation in Emerging Markets" project, among others, which examines how transformational entrepreneurs can be identified and nurtured.
- Feb 26/13 | From the newsroom |
The Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) Initiative is pleased to announce that it is now accepting a FIFTH ROUND of applications for it its Competitive Research Fund on Entrepreneurship and SME Growth. The goal of this fund is to support innovative research that is in line with the initiative’s objective to build a systemic body of evidence on the contributions of SME growth to poverty alleviation and economic development. We hope that this competition will have a catalyzing effect to stimulate high quality research that can produce relevant evidence to innovate, implement and scale programs that promote SME growth. For this round of grants, complete proposals should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5:00 pm EST on April 15, 2013.
- Feb 14/13 | From the newsroom |
Writing in the UK’s The Independent newspaper, Memphis Barker discusses the rise of the evidence-based development movement. Referencing Bill Gates’ recent op-ed he says:Gates writes in his op-ed of how, “if I could wave a wand, I'd love to have a way to measure how exposure to risks like disease and malnutrition impact children's potential”. A wand is hardly necessary. IPA highlights how de-worming children in schools in Kenya, killing the parasites that steal the nutrients from their stomachs, reduces absenteeism by 25 per cent and leads to higher earnings in later life.Read the whole piece here.
The Washington Post Business Section’s Wonkblog gives readers tips for holiday giving this year, and focuses on organizations like IPA and J-PAL that add value by increasing the public and policy-maker’s understanding of what works. As they say:
If one of the essential features of good charities is their use of good, randomized experiments to back up their methods, then it follows that groups like IPA are needed to conduct those experiments, either in conjunction with charities or on their own. So giving to IPA is a good way to indirectly promote effective charitable work by other organizations.
- New York’s Daily News featured our U.S. Household Finance Initiative partner, Spring Bank, which is opening a branch in Harlem specifically targeting the underbanked. As the story explains:Five years ago, CheckSpring launched its first branch in the South Bronx with a unique concept. The startup would offer both check cashing and traditional banking under one roof.The idea was to tap an underserved population of low-income New Yorkers and help them transition from expensive check cashing services to mainstream banking.The article highlights a new product innovation funded by the Initiative's Financial Products Innovation Fund. The bank account, called the Now & Later Account, helps recipients of large lump sum tax payments smooth the disbursements throughout the year, turning an annual windfall into monthly income. The product will be launched in January 2013 by Spring Bank and The Financial Clinic, and will be evaluated by IPA.
- Writing in an op-ed in the Washington Post, policy reporter Dylan Matthews wonders why IPA and J-PAL-style research isn’t a routine part of US policy-making:Each year, hundreds of carefully controlled, double-blind studies are done to learn whether a given pill is better than a placebo or whether a new surgery leads to quicker recoveries. Many of these studies are funded by a single agency, the National Institutes of Health. By contrast, in a typical year, no such studies are conducted to evaluate social policy proposals.Matthews goes on to point out that IPA and J-PAL have shown it's possible to craft policy based on rigorous research into what what does and doesn't work for fighting poverty in the developing world, and asks why the U.S. isn't doing similar work.It doesn’t have to be this way. Congress should establish a policy-evaluation office, modeled after the JPAL or IPA, to run randomized, controlled trials on social policies. The office should have broad authority to do test-runs of proposals of its choosing, operating under the same rules of informed consent used in medical studies.Read the whole piece here, what do you think - would it be doable for the U.S. to have an independent center for policy trials?
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