This project lays the ground work for a bigger research agenda to understand the constraints entrepreneurs and small firms face in East Africa. There has been a lot of work in recent years on both large formal firms as well as on microenterprises in the developing world, but there is little work on small firms, in particular those highlighted in the ongoing discussion about the ““midding middle”
Under this proposal, we aim to work with a technology firm to use Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology to conduct cell phone surveys of small firms (less than 5 employees, but both formal and informal), focusing on understanding the constraints they face. The questions will cover some of the issues covered by the Doing Business reports of the World Bank as well as the World Bank Enterprise Surveys. However, these IVR surveys will be shorter in length (to keep attrition to a minimum) but with a much larger sample size. Another key advantage of the surveys we propose is that we plan to conduct these surveys at a reasonably high frequency (once a quarter) in each country, with the surveys being a panel, i.e. following the same firms over time. This will allow us to track firm dynamics in this sample in the short and medium term.
This work is part of the International Growth Centre’s ‘Tracking Constraints to Entrepreneurship in Africa’ project
Tavneet Suri, Louis Dorval (2019) Constraints to Entrepreneurship: Findings from Pilot Studies in Kenya and Uganda. IGC. Reference F-89406-UGA-1