Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs

ANDE Research Initiative - Grant Winners 2012

More Sweatshops for Africa? An Experimental Study of Firms, Factory Labor, and Poverty Alleviation
Country of Project: Ethiopia
Dr. Christopher Blattman, Columbia University, Innovations for Poverty Action
Dr. Stefan Dercon, Oxford University, Innovations for Poverty Action
Awarded $120,000

This project seeks rigorous evidence on the effects of small and growing businesses on the workers they employ and, by extension, their households. The researchers ask: What is the effect of obtaining a formal sector, industrial job on the level, growth, and variability of income? Are industrial jobs stultifying and stupefying and unhealthy, or do higher and less risky incomes lower stress and raise health and happiness for workers and their households?

To examine these questions, they are conducting a randomized control trial of industrial labor in Ethiopia. Blattman and Dercon are presently collaborating with eight to ten small and medium size growing businesses in different sectors and regions, urban and rural. Each firm received many times more applicants to low-skill, low-wage positions than it could hire, and the firms agreed to select its new hires randomly from the pool of qualified applicants. The ANDE grant will help them expand the study to additional firms in Ethiopia, as well as neighboring countries in East Africa. They also actively seek collaboration with ANDE members in the region, to help them broaden the pool of firms that are included in the study.

The Effects of Small-Scale Electricity Systems on Rural Communities in South Asia
Country of Project: India and Bangladesh
Davida Wood (PhD) and Bharath Jairaj, Senior Associates, Sanjoy Sanyal, World Resources Institute (WRI)
Narasimha Rao (PhD), International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) 2011, Austria
Awarded $120,000

Providing universal energy access is a widely acknowledged vehicle for poverty alleviation, and there are a growing number of SGBs providing electricity products and services across rural areas in South Asia. This project will assess the following question: How has the recent proliferation of small-scale electricity systems in South Asia improved the lives of communities that they serve? The researchers expect that communities and households that receive electricity access from these systems are likely to generate livelihoods and income, spend less time on household chores, and improve their health and education prospects. This study will focus on 4 districts in India, and 4 districts in Bangladesh, in which some communities are served by SGB electricity providers. The researchers will use a quasi-experimental research design to compare development outcomes for communities that receive electricity from SGBs, those that receive electricity from the grid, and those that rely on other sources of fuel, such as kerosene or diesel.

Evaluating Household Level Impacts of Small & Growing Business Creation and Impact Investing in Peru
Country of Project: Peru
Jason Spindler: Founding Partner of I-DEV International & Managing Director (based in I-DEV’s South American Office in Peru)
Martin Benavides: Executive Director & Senior Researcher, Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo – GRADE, Peru
Awarded $160,000

This study will focus on the impact of SGBs that employ the poor, primarily in the agricultural sector, in Peru. They will focus on 4 key areas of impact: Economic impact, impact on family health, children’s education, and social welfare. The team will also examine the extent to which these SGBs reach the poorest populations in these regions, and the impact on these communities. The research team will select 3-4 agricultural SGBs in Peru, and analyze the direct and indirect impacts each SGB has had on the communities where they operate. The team will also identify communities which closely match the communities that SGBs currently operate in, to develop a comparison group. The researchers plan to follow a mixed-methods approach, which will combine quantitative analysis of survey data with a qualitative assessment the SGB and its beneficiaries.