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The catch-22 of external validity in the context of constraints to firm growth

Fischer, Gregory and Karlan, Dean (2015) The catch-22 of external validity in the context of constraints to firm growth. American Economic Review, 105 (5). pp. 295-299. ISSN 0002-8282

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Identification Number: 10.1257/aer.p20151078


We document the presence of multiple and varied constraints to small and medium firm growth. This presents both a practical problem for business training programs and a challenge to academic economists trying to identify mechanisms though which these programs may affect outcomes. External validity needs theory. This pushes researchers to narrowly defined and highly selected sample frames, which limits the potential for clear, generalizable policy prescriptions. Ultimately, larger samples, multi-arm evaluations, process documentation, and narrowly-focused, theory-supported empirical work are all needed, but the complexity of the problem limits what we learn from any single study.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 American Economic Association
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Sets: Departments > Economics
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2016 15:56
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2019 02:47

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