Research project to examine the growth process of small scale male-run enterprises.

1500 small scale male-run enterprises in 18 DS divisions in 9 districts in surveyed in October 2008. The survey consisted of a matched savings intervention programme to randomly selected participants in partnership with a national-level savings bank, a business skills training programme to randomly selected participants in partnership with an external business consulting firm (ILO developed business training modules), and an employee-hiring incentive programme with cash incentives on hiring an additional worker to randomly selected participants.

7 Follow-up surveys of same sample every six months in Oct 2009Oct - 2012 period were also conducted.

Contributed to design and managed translation of questionnaires. Three Interventions were administered:

(1) a matched savings programme (in partnership with a national-level savings bank)

(2) an ILO-developed business training programme (in partnership with a business consulting firm)

(3) an employment incentive programme to randomly selected enterprises.   


This survey project was supplemented by a larger annual follow-up survey of microenterprises, SME enterprises and wage workers in 31 DS divisions in 20 districts.


Research Publications

“Wage Subsidies for Microenterprises”

Wage subsidies have long being used by governments as part of their active labour market policies to generate employment for the disadvantaged or to sustain employment in downturns.

In the context of developing economy labour markets where half or more of the labour force is employed in enterprises with fewer than five employees, similar motivations can be given for making short-term wage subsidies to microenterprise owners to encourage them to make the leap to hiring workers. In this short paper we describe the implementation and take-up of a randomized experiment in Sri Lanka motivated by these ideas. It is, to our knowledge, the first program to offer wage subsidies to microenterprises.

Published in American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings, Vol. 100, No. 2, May 2010, pp. 614-618. (downloadable from

A previous version is available at the World Bank website and downloadable from