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Open Access Publications from the University of California

SMS Training and Micro-Entrepreneurship Performance

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The paper provides evidence of the effectiveness of massively scalable automated SMS business training. The training has very low marginal costs and requires only basic cell phone coverage for enrollment. We conducted a large-scale Randomized Control Trial in which we randomly manipulated the timing of delivery of the training to small shopkeepers in Kenya. In particular, the treatment group obtained financial resilience training during the December 2020 holidays, while the control group obtained the same module in November 2020. This timing manipulation successfully led to a higher intensity of received training in the treatment group. We find that the treatment group reports larger monthly revenue, greater financial resilience, more extensive usage of formal book-keeping, and a better self-reported understanding of financial concepts.

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