Informational Barriers to Market Access: Experimental Evidence from Liberian Firms
Sciences Po Economics Discussion Papers
Paris : Département d'économie de Sciences Po
Sciences Po Economics Discussion Papers : 2020-09
Evidence suggests that firms in poor countries stagnate because they cannot access growth-conducive markets. We hypothesize that overlooked heterogeneity in marketing ability distorts market access. To investigate, we gave a random subset of Liberian firms vouchers for a week-long program that teaches how to sell to corporations, governments, and other large buyers. Firms that participate win about three times as many contracts, but only firms with access to the Internet benefit. We use a simple model and variation in online and offline demand to show evidence that this is because ICT dampens traditional information frictions, but not marketing barriers.