Simon R. Quinn

Oxford University

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2016Curse of Anonymity or Tyranny of Distance? The Impacts of Job-Search Support in Urban Ethiopia
with Girum Abebe, Stefano Caria, Marcel Fafchamps, Paolo Falco, Simon Franklin: w22409
We conduct a randomized evaluation of two job-search support programs for urban youth in Ethiopia. One group of treated respondents receives a subsidy to cover the transport costs of job search. Another group participates in a job application workshop where their skills are certified and they are given orientation on how to make effective job applications. The two interventions are designed to lower spatial and informational barriers to employment. We find that both treatments significantly improve the quality of jobs that young jobseekers obtain. Impacts are concentrated among women and the least educated. Using rich high-frequency data from a phone survey, we are able to explore the mechanisms underlying the results; we show that while the transport subsidy increases both the intensity a...
April 2015Networks and Manufacturing Firms in Africa: Results from a Randomized Field Experiment
with Marcel Fafchamps: w21132
We run a novel field experiment to link managers of African manufacturing firms. The experiment features exogenous link formation, exogenous seeding of information, and exogenous assignment to treatment and placebo. We study the impact of the experiment on firm business practices outside of the lab. We find that the experiment successfully created new variation in social networks. We find significant diffusion of business practices only in terms of VAT registration and having a bank current account. This diffusion is a combination of diffusion of innovation and simple imitation. At the time of our experiment, all three studied countries were undergoing large changes in their VAT legislation.
with Marcel Fafchamps: w21084
We gave US$1,000 cash prizes to winners of a business plan competition in Africa. The competition, entitled ‘Aspire’, was intended to attract young individuals aspiring to become entrepreneurs. Participants were ranked by committees of judges composed of established entrepreneurs. Each committee selected one winner among twelve candidates; that winner was awarded a prize of US$1,000 to spend at his or her discretion. Six months after the competition, we compare winners with the two runners-up in each committee: winners are about 33 percentage points more likely to be self-employed. We estimate an average effect on monthly profits of about US$150: an annual profit of 80% on initial investment. Our findings imply that access to start-up capital constitutes a sizable barrier to entry into ent...

Published: Marcel Fafchamps & Simon Quinn, 2017. "Aspire," The Journal of Development Studies, vol 53(10), pages 1615-1633.

July 2011When is capital enough to get female microenterprises growing? Evidence from a randomized experiment in Ghana
with Marcel Fafchamps, David McKenzie, Christopher Woodruff: w17207
Standard models of investment predict that credit-constrained firms should grow rapidly when given additional capital, and that how this capital is provided should not affect decisions to invest in the business or consume the capital. We randomly gave cash and in-kind grants to male- and female-owned microenterprises in urban Ghana. Our findings cast doubt on the ability of capital alone to stimulate the growth of female microenterprises. First, while the average treatment effects of the in-kind grants are large and positive for both males and females, the gain in profits is almost zero for women with initial profits below the median, suggesting that capital alone is not enough to grow subsistence enterprises owned by women. Second, for women we strongly reject equality of the cash and in-...

Published: Journal of Development Economics Volume 106, January 2014, Pages 211–226 Cover image Microenterprise growth and the flypaper effect: Evidence from a randomized experiment in Ghana ☆ Marcel Fafchampsa, , David McKenzieb, , Simon Quinna, , , Christopher Woodruffc,

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