Person:
Kraay, Aart

Development Research Group, The World Bank
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Macroeconomics, Debt management, Economic growth, Inequality and shared prosperity
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Development Research Group, The World Bank
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Last updated: January 31, 2023
Biography
Aart Kraay is Director of Research in the Development Research Group at the World Bank. He joined the World Bank in 1995 after earning a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University (1995), and a B.Sc. in economics from the University of Toronto (1990). His research interests include international capital movements, growth and inequality, governance, and the Chinese economy. His research on these topics has been published in scholarly journals such as the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Economic Journal, the Journal of Monetary Economics, the Journal of International Economics, and the Journal of the European Economic Association. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Development Economics, and co-editor of the World Bank Economic Review. He has also held visiting positions at the International Monetary Fund and the Sloan School of Management at MIT, and has taught at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Citations 714 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 65
  • Publication
    Government Spending Multipliers in Developing Countries : Evidence from Lending by Official Creditors
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-06) Kraay, Aart
    This paper uses a novel loan-level dataset covering lending by official creditors to developing country governments to construct an instrument for public spending that can be used to estimate government spending multipliers. Loans from official creditors (primarily multilateral development banks and bilateral aid agencies) are a major source of financing for government spending in developing countries. These loans typically finance public spending projects that take several years to implement, with multiple disbursements linked to the stages of project implementation. The long disbursement periods for these loans imply that the bulk of government spending financed by official creditors in a given year reflects loan approval decisions made in many previous years, before current-year macroeconomic shocks are known. Loan-level commitment and disbursement transactions from the World Bank's Debtor Reporting System database are used to isolate a predetermined component of government spending associated with past loan approvals. This can be used as an instrument to estimate spending multipliers for a large sample of 102 developing countries. The one-year government spending multiplier is reasonably-precisely estimated to be around 0.4, and there is some suggestive evidence that multipliers are larger in recessions, in countries less exposed to international trade, and in countries with flexible exchange rate regimes.
  • Publication
    Trade, Growth, and Poverty
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2001-06) Dollar, David; Kraay, Aart
    The evidence from individual cases and from cross-country analysis supports the view that globalization leads to faster growth and poverty reduction in poor countries. To determine the effect of globalization on growth, poverty, and inequality, the authors first identify a group of developing countries that are participating more in globalization. China, India, and several other large countries are part of this group, so well over half the population of the developing world lives in these globalizing economies. Over the past 20 years, the post-1980 globalizers have seen large increases in trade and significant declines in tariffs. Their growth rates accelerated between the 1970s and the 1980s and again between the 1980s and the 1990s, even as growth in the rich countries and the rest of the developing world slowed. The post-1980 globalizers are catching up to the rich countries, but the rest of the developing world (the non-globalizers) is falling further behind. Next, the authors ask how general these patterns are, using regressions that exploit within-country variations in trade and growth. After controlling for changes in other policies and addressing endogeneity with internal instruments, they find that trade has a strong positive effect on growth. Finally, the authors examine the effects of trade on the poor. They find little systematic evidence of a relationship between changes in trade volumes (or any other measure of globalization they consider) and changes in the income share of the poorest-or between changes in trade volumes and changes in household income inequality. They conclude, therefore, that the increase in growth rates that accompanies expanded trade translates on average into proportionate increases in incomes of the poor. Absolute poverty in the globalizing developing economies has fallen sharply in the past 20 years. The evidence from individual cases and from cross-country analysis supports the view that globalization leads to faster growth and poverty reduction in poor countries.
  • Publication
    When Is Growth Pro-Poor? Cross-Country Evidence
    (World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2004-02) Kraay, Aart
    Growth is pro-poor if the poverty measure of interest falls. According to this definition there are three potential sources of pro-poor growth: (1) a high rate of growth of average incomes; (2) a high sensitivity of poverty to growth in average incomes; and (3) a poverty-reducing pattern of growth in relative incomes. The author empirically decomposes changes in poverty in a large sample of developing countries during the 1980s and 1990s into these three components. In the medium to long run, most of the variation in changes in poverty can be attributed to growth in average incomes, suggesting that policies and institutions that promote broad-based growth should be central to the pro-poor growth agenda. Most of the remainder of the variation in poverty is due to poverty-reducing patterns of growth in relative incomes, rather than differences in the sensitivity of poverty to growth in average incomes. Cross-country evidence provides relatively little guidance as to the policies and institutions that promote these other sources of pro-poor growth.
  • Publication
    Growth Still Is Good for the Poor
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-08) Dollar, David; Kleineberg, Tatjana; Kraay, Aart
    Incomes in the poorest two quintiles on average increase at the same rate as overall average incomes. This is because, in a global dataset spanning 118 countries over the past four decades, changes in the share of income of the poorest quintiles are generally small and uncorrelated with changes in average income. The variation in changes in quintile shares is also small relative to the variation in growth in average incomes, implying that the latter accounts for most of the variation in income growth in the poorest quintiles. These findings hold across most regions and time periods and when conditioning on a variety of country-level factors that may matter for growth and inequality changes. This evidence confirms the central importance of economic growth for poverty reduction and illustrates the difficulty of identifying specific macroeconomic policies that are significantly associated with the relative growth rates of those in the poorest quintiles.
  • Publication
    Fiscal Policy as a Tool for Stabilization in Developing Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-02) Kraay, Aart; Serven, Luis
    The financial crisis of 2007/2008, the subsequent great recession in rich countries and its propagation to developing countries has sparked a renewed interest in the role of fiscal policy as a potential countercyclical tool among policymakers and researchers. This paper reviews the state of empirical evidence on the effectiveness of discretionary countercyclical fiscal policy by placing a particular emphasis on developing countries. On the whole, successful fiscal interventions of this type have been rare in the developing world. This note also briefly reviews contrasting experiences of success and failure in industrial and developing countries. It concludes with several recommendations motivated by past experiences policymakers should consider before adopting any fiscal responses to the current crisis.
  • Publication
    Doing the Survey Two-Step: The Effects of Reticence on Estimates of Corruption in Two-Stage Survey Questions
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-05) Karalashvili, Nona; Kraay, Aart; Murrell, Peter
    This paper develops a structural approach for modeling how respondents answer survey questions and uses it to estimate the proportion of respondents who are reticent in answering corruption questions, as well as the extent to which reticent behavior biases down conventional estimates of corruption. The context is a common two-step survey question, first inquiring whether a government official visited a business, and then asking about bribery if a visit was acknowledged. Reticence is a concern for both steps, since denying a visit sidesteps the bribe question. This paper considers two alternative models of how reticence affects responses to two-step questions, with differing assumptions on how reticence affects the first question about visits. Maximum-likelihood estimates are obtained for seven countries using data on interactions with tax officials. Different models work best in different countries, but cross-country comparisons are still valid because both models use the same structural parameters. On average, 40 percent of corruption questions are answered reticently, with much variation across countries. A statistic reflecting how much standard measures underestimate the proportion of all respondents who had a bribe interaction is developed. The downward bias in standard measures is highly statistically significant in all countries, varying from 12 percent in Nigeria to 90 percent in Turkey. The source of bias varies widely across countries, between denying a visit and denying a bribe after admitting a visit.
  • Publication
    Good Countries or Good Projects? Macro and Micro Correlates of World Bank Project Performance
    (Elsevier, 2013-07-13) Denizer, Cevdet; Kaufmann, Daniel; Kraay, Aart
    This paper investigates macro and micro correlates of aid-financed development project outcomes, using data from over 6000 World Bank projects evaluated between 1983 and 2011. Country-level “macro” measures of the quality of policies and institutions are strongly correlated with project outcomes, consistent with the view that country-level performance matters for aid effectiveness. However, a striking feature of the data is that the success of individual development projects varies much more within countries than it does between countries. A large set of project-level “micro” variables, including project size, project length, the effort devoted to project preparation and supervision, and early-warning indicators that flag problematic projects during the implementation stage, accounts for some of this within-country variation in project outcomes. Measures of World Bank project manager quality also matter significantly for the ultimate project outcomes. We discuss the implications of these findings for donor policies aimed at aid effectiveness.
  • Publication
    Misunderestimating Corruption
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-05) Kraay, Aart
    Estimates of the extent of corruption rely largely on self-reports of individuals, business managers, and government officials. Yet it is well known that survey respondents are reticent to tell the truth about activities to which social and legal stigma are attached, implying a downward bias in survey-based estimates of corruption. This paper develops a method to estimate the prevalence of reticent behavior, in order to isolate rates of corruption that fully reflect respondent reticence in answering sensitive questions. The method is based on a statistical model of how respondents behave when answering a combination of conventional and random-response survey questions. The responses to these different types of questions reflect three probabilities -- that the respondent has done the sensitive act in question, that the respondent exhibits reticence in answering sensitive questions, and that a reticent respondent is not candid in answering any specific sensitive question. These probabilities can be estimated using a method-of-moments estimator. Evidence from the 2010 World Bank Enterprise survey in Peru suggests reticence-adjusted estimates of corruption that are roughly twice as large as indicated by responses to standard questions. Reticence-adjusted estimates of corruption are also substantially higher in a set of ten Asian countries covered in the Gallup World Poll.
  • Publication
    Governance Matters VII : Aggregate and Individual Governance Indicators 1996-2007
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-06) Kaufmann, Daniel; Kraay, Aart; Mastruzzi, Massimo
    This paper reports on the latest update of the Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) research project, covering 212 countries and territories and measuring six dimensions of governance between 1996 and 2007: Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence/Terrorism, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law, and Control of Corruption. The latest aggregate indicators are based on hundreds of specific and disaggregated individual variables measuring various dimensions of governance, taken from 35 data sources provided by 32 different organizations. The data reflect the views on governance of public sector, private sector and NGO experts, as well as thousands of citizen and firm survey respondents worldwide. The authors also explicitly report the margins of error accompanying each country estimate. These reflect the inherent difficulties in measuring governance using any kind of data. The authors also briefly describe the evolution of the WGI since its inception, and show that the margins of error on the aggregate governance indicators have declined over the years, even though they still remain non-trivial. The authors find that even after taking margins of error into account, the WGI permit meaningful cross-country comparisons as well as monitoring progress over time. In less than a decade, a substantial number of countries exhibit statistically significant improvements in at least one dimension of governance, while other countries exhibit deterioration in some dimensions. These aggregate indicators, spanning more than a decade, together with the disaggregated individual indicators, are available at www.govindicators.org.
  • Publication
    Approximating Income Distribution Dynamics Using Aggregate Data
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-06) Kraay, Aart; Van der Weide, Roy
    This paper proposes a methodology to approximate individual income distribution dynamics using only time series data on aggregate moments of the income distribution. Under the assumption that individual incomes follow a lognormal autoregressive process, this paper shows that the evolution over time of the mean and standard deviation of log income across individuals provides sufficient information to place upper and lower bounds on the degree of mobility in the income distribution. The paper demonstrates that these bounds are reasonably informative, using the U.S. Panel Study of Income Dynamics where the panel structure of the data allows us to compare measures of mobility directly estimated from the micro data with approximations based only on aggregate data. Bounds on mobility are estimated for a large cross-section of countries, using data on aggregate moments of the income distribution available in the World Wealth and Income Database and the World Bank's PovcalNet database. The estimated bounds on mobility imply that conventional anonymous growth rates of the bottom 40 percent (top 10 percent) that do not account for mobility substantially understate (overstate) the expected growth performance of those initially in the bottom 40 percent (top 10 percent).