Business Training in Tanzania: From Research-driven Experiment to Local Implementation
By Bertil Tungodden, Lars Ivar Oppedal Berge, Kjetil Bjorvatn and Kartika Juniwaty
Journal of African Economies 21 (5), pages 808-827
Field experiments documenting positive treatment effects have a strong policy message: scale up! However, such experiments are typically implemented under close supervision of the research group in charge of the study. In contrast, scaling up would typically imply relying on local organisation. It is not obvious that the positive treatment effects identified in the research-driven intervention can be replicated locally. The present study explicitly addresses this challenge by analysing the local version of a research-driven business training programme among microfinance entrepreneurs in Tanzania. Comparing the local programme with the research-led programme in terms of attendance and subjective evaluation, we find that success in local implementation cannot be taken for granted. Moreover, an analysis of long-term outcomes also demonstrates a weaker impact of the local programme. We conclude that the estimated effect of research-led interventions should be interpreted as an upper bound of what can be achieved when scaling up such interventions locally.