DP15219 Informational Barriers to Market Access: Experimental Evidence from Liberian Firms
Evidence suggests that many firms in poor countries stagnate because they cannot access growth-conducive markets. We hypothesize that overlooked informational barriers distort market access. To investigate, we gave a random subset of medium-sized Liberian firms vouchers for a week-long program that exclusively teaches “sellership”: how to sell to corporations, governments, and other large buyers. Firms that
participate win three times as many formal contracts a year later. The impact is heterogeneous: informational sales barriers bind for about a quarter of firms. Three years post-training, these firms continue to win desirable contracts, are more likely to operate, and employ more workers.