Globally, irregular migration and human trafficking have reached crisis proportions in fragile and conflict-affected states. In Nigeria, the combination of ongoing, low-intensity conflict, a large youth population, and limited economic opportunities has led to high levels of irregular migrants seeking to make the dangerous journey to Europe. There is little evidence on how individuals weigh the risks and benefits of migration, and how information campaigns influence decisions to migrate.

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Recent evidence has pointed to the importance of socio-emotional skills development for improving business outcomes and for helping to close the gender gap between male- and female-owned small businesses.

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A used clothing trader and his stock in Lagos, Nigeria

A large theoretical literature suggests that public information can substitute for formal contract enforcement – businesses concerned about maintaining a good reputation will be more inclined to follow through on commitments. However, little is known about the extent to which reputation helps enforce informal business agreements in practice, or about the channels through which information of this type impacts trade.

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Policymakers in countries dominated by small and medium-sized firms face challenges in spurring them to grow and hire more workers. In particular, it has been difficult to distinguish entrepreneurs with potential for growth from their “subsistence entrepreneur” peers. Researchers used a national business plan competition in Nigeria to test if selecting winners and offering them $50,000 cash could encourage their firms to grow.

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