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Former Assistant Professor of Marketing

Stephen Anderson

Former Faculty Affiliate
King Center on Global Development

Professor Anderson was formerly an assistant professor of marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Anderson is an empirical researcher who studies management and policy questions at the intersection of marketing and entrepreneurship in developing economies. His research focuses on spurring inclusive, equitable growth and sustainable, green growth in disadvantaged regions. With more than twenty randomized controlled trials (RCTs) launched throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia, Steve has been a pioneer in bringing development economics research to the field of marketing over the past decade. These studies have been published in top journals across both disciplines, including Marketing Science, the Journal of Marketing Research, Management Science and the Journal of Marketing, as well as the Journal of Political Economy and the Journal of Development Economics. The impact of this work has also been recognized with the MSI/AMA Paul Root Award, the INFORMS Frank Bass Outstanding Dissertation Award, the Hunt-Maynard Award (finalist), the AMA Robert Lavidge Global Marketing Research Award, and the INFORMS Gary Lilien Practice Prize Award.

King Center Supported Research

2018 - 2019 Academic Year | Junior Faculty Research Grant

Evaluating the Impact of the Lean Start-up Method for Entrepreneurs in Kenya and Uganda

Most scholars agree that substantial economic growth in developing countries can occur if significant numbers of small-scale entrepreneurs improve performance and scale up their businesses (de Mel et al. 2010; Klapper et al. 2010; Tokman 2007). Yet, the reality is that developing economies tend to be dominated by millions of tiny businesses that do not grow into larger firms (Schoar 2010). Given this situation, researchers and policy makers have been examining how to lift certain constraints in hopes of enabling small-scale entrepreneurs to enhance performance and stimulate inclusive growth, which has the potential for both broader impact (e.g. economic and social outcomes) and deeper impact (e.g. creation of decent jobs and sustainable household benefits). The aim of this study is to contribute new insights into how small scale businesses in developing countries can be supported to grow, and how such support can be delivered cost-effectively and at scale. We will do this by evaluating the impact of an innovative business development program that implements the Lean Startup Methodology with growth-oriented entrepreneurs in Africa.

Modernizing Small-Scale Retailers in Emerging Markets: Contrasting Customer-Facing Modernization
to Product-Facing Modernization

Across emerging markets, the retail sector tends to be dominated by millions of small-scale firms that fail to adopt modern business structures. Given the prevalence of traditional retail firms1, the large proportion of workers they employ2, and the critical logistics role they play in distributing goods from international suppliers to local consumers, it is important for marketers and multinationals to better understand whether (and how) modernization can enhance the productivity and performance of these firms. Modernization in this context can broadly be conceived as the process of adopting business activities prevalent in large retailers in developed markets and adapting those activities to the (short-run) constraints of traditional retail.

To the best of our knowledge, no prior study has directly investigated the impact of modernization on the sales of small-scale retailers in emerging markets. Instead, a handful of completed studies3 on improving outcomes in the retail sector of emerging markets have focused on a related concept - incentives to increase formalization (e.g. business registration, tax compliance) and the effects of formalization on retailer performance. In doing so, this extant work has viewed formalization as a binary outcome – and not as a process where a continuum of modernization levels is possible. Thus, given the lack of research (and non-significant findings) to date, we conduct the first field experiment to study the impact of modernizing retailers through interventions designed to: (i) stimulate the ‘process’ of modernization by improving retail structures; (ii) skip the typical “skills first, changes second” approach by directly making structural changes in a firm; and (iii) separate external (customer-facing) from internal (product-facing) modernization.