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.
Fernando Vega-Redondo is Professor of Economics at Bocconi University. He received his Ph. D. from the University of Minnesota in 1984 under the supervision of Leonid Hurwicz. He has formerly taught at the Universities of Alicante (Spain), Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain), Essex (UK), Cornell (USA), and the European University Institute (Florence, Italy). He has supervised twenty five doctoral researchers and is the author of several books such as Complex Economic Networks (Cambridge University Press, 2006), Economics and the Theory of Games(Cambridge University Press, 2003), and Evolution, Games, and Economic Behavior (Oxford University Press, 1996). His multidisciplinary research has led to more than one hundred publications in the fields of economics, game theory, biology, and physics. He is currently co-editor of Network Science and associate editor of Games and Economic Behavior, and International Journal of Game Theory. Visit his personal website >>
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This webinar is part of a series of webinars to present cutting-edge research on Targeting and Community Networks in Anti-Poverty Programs
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