Business Practices in Small Firms in Developing Countries 2008-2014
The dataset documented here contains information from surveys of micro and small enterprises conducted in Bangladesh, Chile, Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka between 2008 and 2014. Researchers from the World Bank and the University of Warwick developed a survey instrument with 26 questions that measured business practices in marketing, stock-keeping, record-keeping, and financial planning. The goal of the research was to examine the relationship between management practices and firm outcomes.
The surveys samples varied in their representativeness and size, because they were in most cases conducted as part of impact evaluations of particular programs. The surveys conducted in Bangladesh, Kenya, Mexico, and Sri Lanka provided representative samples of firms of particular size cutoffs, while those in Ghana and Nigeria came from applicants to business plan competitions. The Chile survey was administered to a sample of applicants to a government microenterprise training program.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
Bangladesh, Chile, Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka
Unit of Analysis
Producers and sponsors
Authoring entity/Primary investigators
University of Warwick
Knowledge for Change Trust Fund
The samples were all drawn for purposes other than testing the business practices instrument, and some were selected to reflect very specific sub-populations of interest for particular studies. They range from female-owned subsistence enterprises to a sample of highly-educated owners applying to a business plan competition. But while the samples were not formally designed to be representative of micro- and small-scale enterprises in each country, collectively they reflect the ranges of enterprises in low- and middle-income countries.
Detailed information about sampling in each of the seven countries can be found in "Business Practices in Small Firms in Developing Countries" report (p.23-25), available in external resources.
Dates of Data Collection (YYYY/MM/DD)
Mode of data collection
Computer Assisted Personal Interview [capi]
Type of Research Instrument
Researches developed a set of 26 questions that measured key business practices used in the day-to-day running of small businesses. These questions were motivated by the content of the International Labour Organization (ILO’s) "Improve Your Business" training curriculum, which covered marketing, buying and stock control, costing and record-keeping, and financial planning.
Examples of business practice questions asked in this study are provided in Bangladesh Formal and Informal Enterprise Survey (Section 7, starting page 17) and Sri-Lanka Female Enterprise Survey (Section 9, starting page 18). Both surveys are published as external resources.
Use of the dataset must be acknowledged using a citation which would include:
- the Identification of the Primary Investigator
- the title of the survey (including acronym and year of implementation)
- the survey reference number
- the source and date of download
David McKenzie, World Bank, Christopher Woodruff, University of Warwick. Business Practices in Small Firms in Developing Countries (BPSFDC) 2008-2014. WLD_2008-2014_BPSFDC_v01_M. Dataset downloaded from [url] on [date].
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.