In 2008, Uganda granted hundreds of small groups $400/person to help members start individual skilled trades. Four years on, an experimental evaluation found grants raised earnings by 38% (Blattman, Fiala, Martinez 2014). We return after 9 years to ﬁnd these start-up grants acted more as a kick-start than a lift out of poverty. Grantees’ investment leveled oﬀ; controls eventually increased their incomes through business and casual labor; and so both groups converged in employment, earnings, and consumption. Grants had lasting impacts on assets, skilled work, and possibly child health, but had little eﬀect on mortality, fertility, health or education.
Written with Nathan Fiala (University of Connecticut, Makerere University and RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research) and Sebastian Martinez (IADB)