The Impact of Soft-Skills Training for Entrepreneurs in Jamaica

72 Pages Posted: 17 May 2019 Last revised: 21 Dec 2021

See all articles by Diego Ubfal

Diego Ubfal

Africa Gender Innovation Lab, World Bank; IGIER; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Irani Arraiz

InterAmerican Development Bank

Diether W. Beuermann

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Michael Frese

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Alessandro Maffioli

Inter-American Development Bank; University of Insubria

Daniel Verch

Leuphana University of Lueneburg

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 10, 2021

Abstract

There has been growing interest in approaches to business training that incorporate insights from psychology to develop soft skills associated with successful entrepreneurship. The empirical evidence on the causal effects of these approaches on entrepreneurs’ business outcomes is encouraging, but still not substantial enough to be conclusive. This study contributes to this literature by designing and evaluating two training programs, which are adapted to the Jamaican context. The first program provides soft skills training on personal initiative, including the development of a proactive mindset and perseverance after setbacks. The second program combines soft-skills training on personal initiative with traditional training on hard skills aimed at changing business practices. Both programs are evaluated using a randomized controlled trial involving 945 entrepreneurs in Jamaica. Findings indicate statistically significant effects of the intensive soft-skills training, but not of the training combining soft and hard skills, on business outcomes in the short-term survey. The analysis of the data suggests that the main channel through which the intensive soft-skills training improves short-term business outcomes is an increased adoption of business practices. The positive short-term effects of the soft-skills training are concentrated among men and are not significant for female entrepreneurs. Neither the effects on business practices nor those on business outcomes are statistically significant in the second follow-up survey. However, the soft skills training has persistent effects on targeted soft skills, which are measured with both self-reported and incentivized measures.

Keywords: Business Training, entrepreneurship, soft skills

JEL Classification: J24, L25, M13, O12

Suggested Citation

Ubfal, Diego and Arraiz, Irani and Beuermann, Diether W. and Frese, Michael and Maffioli, Alessandro and Verch, Daniel, The Impact of Soft-Skills Training for Entrepreneurs in Jamaica (December 10, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3374406 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3374406

Diego Ubfal (Contact Author)

Africa Gender Innovation Lab, World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

IGIER ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Irani Arraiz

InterAmerican Development Bank ( email )

1300 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008
United States

Diether W. Beuermann

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) ( email )

1300 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

Michael Frese

National University of Singapore (NUS) ( email )

1E Kent Ridge Road
NUHS Tower Block Level 7
Singapore, 119228
Singapore

Alessandro Maffioli

Inter-American Development Bank ( email )

1300 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

University of Insubria ( email )

Via Ravasi 2
Varese, 21100
Italy

Daniel Verch

Leuphana University of Lueneburg ( email )

Scharnhorststraße 1
Wilschenbrucher Weg 69
Lüneburg, 21335
Germany

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