Peer Networks and Entrepreneurship: A Pan-African RCT

59 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2020

See all articles by Fernando Vega-Redondo

Fernando Vega-Redondo

Universidad de Alicante - Department of Economic Analysis; European University Institute; Bocconi University

Paolo Pin

Bocconi University - Department of Decision Sciences

Diego Ubfal

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

Cristiana Benedetti-Fasil

European University Institute

Charles Brummitt

Columbia University

Gaia Rubera

Bocconi University

Dirk Hovy

Bocconi University

Tommaso Fornaciari

Bocconi University

Abstract

Can large-scale peer interaction foster entrepreneurship and innovation? We conducted an RCT involving almost 5,000 entrepreneurs from 49 African countries. All were enrolled in an online business course, and the treatment involved random assignment to either face-to-face or virtual (Internet-mediated) interaction. We find positive treatment effects on both the submission of business plans and their quality, provided interaction displays some intermediate diversity. Network effects are also significant on both outcomes, although diversity plays a different role for each. This shows that effective peer interaction can be feasibly implemented quite broadly but must also be designed carefully, in view of the pursued objectives.

Keywords: social networks, peer effects, entrepreneurship, innovation, semantic analysis

JEL Classification: C93, D04, D85, O12, O31, O35

Suggested Citation

Vega-Redondo, Fernando and Vega-Redondo, Fernando and Vega-Redondo, Fernando and Pin, Paolo and Ubfal, Diego and Benedetti-Fasil, Cristiana and Brummitt, Charles and Rubera, Gaia and Hovy, Dirk and Fornaciari, Tommaso, Peer Networks and Entrepreneurship: A Pan-African RCT. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12848, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3513690 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3513690

Fernando Vega-Redondo (Contact Author)

Universidad de Alicante - Department of Economic Analysis ( email )

Apdo. Correos, 99
03080 Alicante
Spain
+34 96 590 3616 (Phone)
+34 96 590 3898 (Fax)

European University Institute

Villa Schifanoia
133 via Bocaccio
Firenze (Florence), Tuscany 50014
Italy

Bocconi University ( email )

Via Sarfatti 25
Milan, MI 20136
Italy

Paolo Pin

Bocconi University - Department of Decision Sciences ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

Diego Ubfal

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

Cristiana Benedetti-Fasil

European University Institute

Villa Schifanoia
133 via Bocaccio
Firenze (Florence), 50014
Italy

Charles Brummitt

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Gaia Rubera

Bocconi University ( email )

Via Sarfatti, 25
Milan, MI 20136
Italy

Dirk Hovy

Bocconi University

Via Sarfatti, 25
Milan, 20136
Italy

Tommaso Fornaciari

Bocconi University

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