Researchers from the World Bank, Sri Lanka's University of Peradeniya and United Kingdom's University of Warwick designed an experiment to measure the impact of providing capital grants to microenterprises. One-time grants of between US $100 and $200 were given to male and female-owned enterprises, some of whom had been affected by the December 2004 tsunami.
The baseline survey was conducted in April 2005. A door-to-door screening survey of households was used to identify enterprises with invested capital of 100,000 rupees (about US$1000) or less, excluding investments in land and buildings. The final sample included 617 enterprises in retail trade and manufacturing, operated by owners 22 to 65 years old, and with no paid employees. The firms were engaged in common self-employment activities such as running small grocery stores, selling tea, food preparation (e.g. string hoppers), sewing clothes, making lace products, and coir production.
Researchers then re-interviewed the owners of baseline firms at quarterly intervals, from July 2005 to April 2007, and semi-annually - in October 2007 and April 2008. Further follow-up surveys were carried out in June and December 2010. Overall, the survey included 13 waves of data collection.
In each wave, firm owners were asked about profits, revenues and expenses, changes in physical capital stock, and levels of inventories on hand. Each round also collected additional information about the firm or owner, in the form of special modules to measure owner ability, risk aversion, labor history, and other characteristics. In addition, the first, fifth, ninth, and eleventh waves of the panel also included a household survey, measuring household expenditure, school attendance, and work participation of all household members.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
A low-capital microenterprise, which fullfilled all of the following conditions:
- has less than 100,000 Sri Lankan rupees (about US $1,000) in capital, excluding land and buildings;
- has no paid employees;
- owner is self-employed full-time (at least 30 hours of work per week) outside of agriculture, transportation, fishing, and professional services;
- owner is 20–65 years old.
- personal information about microenterprise owner;
- inventories and raw materials;
- business equipment;
- income and expenses;
- effects of tsunami;
- household roster;
- effects of tsunami;
- household expenditures;
- inventory of durable goods.
Kalutara, Galle, and Matara districts
Producers and sponsors
Suresh de Mel
University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
University of Warwick, United Kingdom
National Science Foundation
Norway Governance Trust Fund
Using the 2001 Sri Lankan census, researchers selected 25 Grama Niladhari divisions (GNs) in three southern and south-western districts of Sri Lanka: Kalutara, Galle, and Matara. A GN is an administrative unit containing, on average, around 400 households. SLMS used the GN-level data from the census to select GNs with a high percentage of own-account workers and modest education levels, since these were most likely to yield enterprises with invested capital below the threshold we had set. GNs were also stratified according to the degree of exposure of firms to the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. A door-to-door screening survey of 3,361 households in these GNs was then conducted to identify firms whose owners satisfied the sample criteria.
In April 2005, the first wave of the Sri Lanka Microenterprise Survey (SLMS) surveyed the 659 firm owners that the screen identified as meeting these criteria. After reviewing the baseline data, 42 firms were dropped because they exceeded the capital stock threshold, or because a follow-up visit could not verify the existence of the enterprise. This gave a baseline sample of 617 microenterprises.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
Before the initial survey firms were told that as compensation for participating in the research, survey organizers would conduct a random prize drawing, with prizes of cash or inputs and equipment for the business. The prize consisted of one of four grants: LKR 10,000 (about $100) in materials for their business, LKR 20,000 in materials, LKR 10,000 in cash, or LKR 20,000 in cash. In the case of in-kind grants, the materials were selected by the enterprise owner, and purchased by research assistants working for the project. Cash treatments were given without restrictions. Those receiving cash were told that they could purchase anything they wanted, whether for their business or for other purposes.
After the first round of the survey, 124 firms were randomly selected to receive a treatment, with 84 receiving a LKR 10,000 treatment and 40 receiving a LKR 20,000 treatment. The randomization was done within district (Kalutara, Galle, and Matara) and zone (unaffected and indirectly affected by the tsunami). After the third round of the survey, treatments were given to an additional 104 firms selected at random from among those that did not receive treatment after the first round: 62 receiving the LKR 10,000 treatment and 42 the LKR 20,000 treatment. In each case, half of the firms received the treatment in cash, and the other half in-kind.
Finally, a token cash payment of LKR 2,500 (about $25) was made, after round 5, to firms that had not already received a treatment. This payment was not discussed in advance with firms, and was presented as a thank-you for their continued participation in the survey.
AC Nielsen Lanka
Enterprise questionnaires (for all 13 waves) and household questionnaires (for waves 1, 5, 9 and 11) were used in the survey.
Public use data
The use of this dataset must be acknowledged using a citation which would include:
- the identification of the Primary Investigator (including country name)
- the full title of the survey and its acronym (when available), and the year(s) of implementation
- the survey reference number
- the source and date of download (for datasets disseminated online)
Suresh de Mel, University of Peradeniya; David McKenzie, World Bank; Christopher Woodruff, University of Warwick. Sri Lanka Microenterprise Survey (SLMS) 2005-2010. 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.