Esteban Puentes; Jaime Ruiz-Tagle
Abstract: Using a randomized controlled trial of a large-scale, publicly run micro-entrepreneurship program in Chile, we assess the effectiveness of business training and asset transfers to the poor. Using survey and monthly administrative data we study the effects of the program over a period of 46 months. We find that the program significantly increases employment by 15.3 and 6.8 percentages points 9 and 33 months after implementation, respectively. There is also a significant increase in labor income. The employment increase in the short run is through self-employment, while in the long run wage work also increases. In the long run, total labor increases mostly due to an increase in wage income. This is consistent with the hypothesis that skills taught during the training lessons are also useful for wage work. We also find that the quality of the intervention matter, especially in the long run. Finally, comparing two levels of asset transfers, different employment paths emerge: those who receive a low level of transfers mostly end up with salaried work whereas those who receive a high level of transfers tend to be self-employed.