Business Training in Tanzania: From Research-driven Experiment to Local Implementation
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of African Economies 2012, 21(5):808-827 10.1093/jae/ejs016
Field experiments documenting positive treatment effects have a strong policy message: scale up! However, such experiments are typically implemented under close supervision of the research group in charge of the study. In contrast, scaling up would typically imply relying on local organisation. It is not obvious that the positive treatment effects identified in the research-driven intervention can be replicated locally. The present study explicitly addresses this challenge by analysing the local version of a research-driven business training programme among microfinance entrepreneurs in Tanzania. Comparing the local programme with the research-led programme in terms of attendance and subjective evaluation, we find that success in local implementation cannot be taken for granted. Moreover, an analysis of long-term outcomes also demonstrates a weaker impact of the local programme. We conclude that the estimated effect of research-led interventions should be interpreted as an upper bound of what can be achieved when scaling up such interventions locally.
This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of African Economies, following peer review. The version of record Journal of African Economies 2012, 21(5):808-827 is available online at: http://jae.oxfordjournals.org/content/21/5/808.