Iacovone, Leonardo

Global Practice on Trade and Competitiveness, The World Bank
Profile Picture
Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
Global Practice on Trade and Competitiveness, The World Bank
Externally Hosted Work
Contact Information
Last updated January 31, 2023
Citations 182 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
  • Thumbnail Image
    Bayesian Impact Evaluation with Informative Priors: An Application to a Colombian Management and Export Improvement Program
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-01) Iacovone, Leonardo ; McKenzie, David ; Meager, Rachael
    Policymakers often test expensive new programs on relatively small samples. Formally incorporating informative Bayesian priors into impact evaluation offers the promise to learn more from these experiments. A Colombian government program which aimed to increase exporting was trialed experimentally on 200 firms with this goal in mind. Priors were elicited from academics, policymakers, and firms. Contrary to these priors, frequentist estimation can not reject 0 effects in 2019, and finds some negative impacts in 2020. For binary outcomes like whether firms export, frequentist estimates are relatively precise, and Bayesian credible posterior intervals update to overlap almost completely with standard confidence intervals. For outcomes like increasing export variety, where the priors align with the data, the value of these priors is seen in posterior intervals that are considerably narrower than frequentist confidence intervals. Finally, for noisy outcomes like export value, posterior intervals show almost no updating from the priors, highlighting how uninformative the data are about such outcomes.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Shortening Supply Chains: Experimental Evidence from Fruit and Vegetable Vendors in Bogota
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-08) Iacovone, Leonardo ; McKenzie, David
    Small trading activities are a prevalent form of self-employment in developing countries, but their integration into supply value chains is not efficient, especially when it comes to perishable produce. This study tests a novel approach to improve their efficiency by reducing the time and cost of sourcing produce by aggregating purchases through the use of an app and centralized distribution system. Fruit and vegetable vendors in Bogotá currently travel most days to a central market to purchase produce, incurring substantial time and monetary costs. A social enterprise attempted to shorten the supply chain between farmers and vendors by aggregating orders from many small stores, sourcing directly from farmers, and delivering them to the stores. The introduction of this new service was randomized at the market block level. Initial interest was high and offering the service reduced travel time for users by almost two hours a week, reduced travel costs, and increased work-life balance for store owners. Firms offered the service saved an average of 6 to 8 percent on purchase costs, and although some of this passed through into lower prices for consumers, there was incomplete pass-through, so that markups rose. However, stores reduced their sales of products that were not originally offered by this new service, and their total sales and profits appear to have fallen in the short run, with service usage falling over time. The results highlight the potential for new technologies to solve firm coordination problems, offer a window into the nature of competition among small retailers, and point to the challenges in achieving economies of scale when disrupting centralized markets for multi-product firms.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Improving Management with Individual and Group-Based Consulting: Results from a Randomized Experiment in Colombia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-05) Iacovone, Leonardo ; Maloney, William ; McKenzie, David
    Differences in management quality are an important contributor to productivity differences across countries. A key question is how to best improve poor management in developing countries. This paper tests two different approaches to improving management in Colombian auto parts firms. The first uses intensive and expensive one-on-one consulting, while the second draws on agricultural extension approaches to provide consulting to small groups of firms at approximately one-third of the cost of the individual approach. Both approaches lead to improvements in management practices of a similar magnitude (8-10 percentage points), so that the new group-based approach dominates on a cost-benefit basis. Moreover, the paper finds some evidence that the group-based intervention led to increases in firm size over the next three years, while the impacts on firm outcomes are smaller and statistically insignificant for the individual consulting. The results point to the potential of group-based approaches as a pathway to scaling up management improvements.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Improving Management in Colombian Firms Through Individual and Group Consulting
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-06) Iacovone, Leonardo ; Maloney, William ; McKenzie, David
    The latest note tests two different approaches to improving management, and finds a novel group-based approach to be more cost-effective than the standard approach of providing consulting to individual firms.