Working Paper

Policy Evaluations of Microenterprise Business Support Services in Latin America: a Systematic Review


Microenterprises represent 88.4% of Latin American enterprises, and many countries in the region have developed microenterprise promotion policies in recent years; however, rigorous evaluation remains a pending issue. To shed light on the research done on this topic over 20 years and propose a roadmap for the policy evaluation of microenterprise business support services and the development of microenterprise indicators, this work conducts a systematic review, following the PRISMA guidelines, of peer-reviewed journal articles examining the impact of business support services on microenterprise performance in low- and middle-income Latin American countries. We identified 679 studies, and 17 studies met the inclusion criteria. We found that the literature is surprisingly scarce; most studies focus on credits and impacts on financial performance and concentrate on Mexico; and only three articles involve randomised controlled trials. Our results have important implications for policymakers and future research.

Keywords: Business Support Services, Latin America, Microenterprises, Policy Evaluation, systematic review