Discovering and Sharing Business Ideas Among Female Business Owners
In the past few years, there has been an explosion of randomized controlled trials testing how training and business information improves firm practices, performance and productivity in the developing world. These experiments have yielded mixed results, with certain practices working for particular sets of firms in specific contexts. In response, researchers have started to test if the best practices already used by some firms can be shared with other firms to improve performance, and found promising results. Given how valuable social ties are, it is striking that we do not see them form spontaneously. The puzzle we address in this paper is why are business owners not forming more connections, if they are so valuable? This study seeks to understand when business owners in developing economies will share best practices with one another and what frictions prevent firms from learning from one another. This question is particularly important for minority or women business owners who may not be able to learn about best practices through business communities, management education or who have less social capital. This project will focus on the practices women business owners in India need and are willing to share. At the heart of this project is a survey and RCT. I believe by testing ways to increase idea sharing, this study should provide policymakers and scholars insights into how to best help firms benefit from one another.