Theme
Mentorship

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"What is the effect of exposing motivated youth to firm management in practice? To answer this question, we place young professionals for one month in established firms to shadow middle managers. Using random assignment into program participation, we find positive average effects on wage employment, but no average effect on the likelihood of self-employment. Within the treatment group, we match individuals and firms in batches using a deferred-acceptance algorithm. We show how this allows us to identify heterogeneous treatment effects by firm and intern. We find striking heterogeneity in self-employment effects, but almost no heterogeneity in wage employment. Estimates of marginal treatment effects (MTE) are then used to simulate counterfactual mechanism design. We find that some assignment mechanisms substantially outperform random matching in generating employment and income effects. These results demonstrate the importance of treatment heterogeneity for the design of field experiments and the role of matching algorithms in intervention design."

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"We organized business associations for the owner-managers of young Chinese firms to study the effect of business networks on firm performance. We randomized 2,820 firms into small groups whose managers held monthly meetings for one year, and into a "no-meetings" control group. We find the following. (i) The meetings increased firm revenue by 8.1%, and also significantly increased profit, factors, inputs, the number of partners, borrowing, and a management score. (ii) These effects persisted one year after the conclusion of the meetings. (iii) Firms randomized to have better peers exhibited higher growth. We exploit additional interventions to document concrete channels. (iv) Managers shared exogenous business-relevant information, particularly when they were not competitors, showing that the meetings facilitated learning from peers. (v) Managers created more business partnerships in the regular than in other one-time meetings, showing that the meetings improved supplier-client matching."

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"This document contains recommendations on creating effective micro, small, and medium sized enterprise (MSME) mentoring programs for practitioners and supporters. A key driver for reducing global poverty and unemployment is increasing the growth and sustainability of MSMEs. While technical assistance, financing, and other initiatives can help MSMEs to achieve growth and sustainability, mentoring can also have high returns on investment. This is unsurprising, given mentoring’s historic origins in the areas of knowledge sharing and social networks. Yet there is a lack of consensus on what defines effective mentoring, evidence on good practices, and guidance on implementation. This publication addresses these gaps."

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"This study is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) on the effects of mentoring on SMEs in Norway. We aim to get a better understanding of firm development and dynamics in the presence of public interventions. Does mentoring affect firm performance and firm-survival? Does it matter what type of state aid a firm is granted; mentoring versus the financial equivalent of the service?"

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