Development Research Group, The World Bank
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Fields of Specialization
Macroeconomics, Debt management, Economic growth, Inequality and shared prosperity
Development Research Group, The World Bank
Externally Hosted Work
Last updated January 31, 2023
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.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 10 of 62
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-08) Dollar, David ; Kleineberg, Tatjana ; Kraay, AartIncomes 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(World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2004-04) Kraay, Aart ; Loayza, Norman ; Servén, Luis ; Ventura, JaumeCapital flows to developing countries are small and take mostly the form of loans rather than direct foreign investment. We build a simple model of North-South capital flows that highlights the interplay between diminishing returns, production risk and sovereign risk. This model generates a set of country portfolios and a world distribution of capital stocks that resemble those in the data.
Product Quality, Productive Efficiency, and International Technology Diffusion : Evidence from Plant-Level Panel Data(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002-01) Kraay, Aart ; Soloaga, Isidro ; Tybout, JamesWhat mechanisms most frequently transmit foreign technologies to developing country firms? Do these foreign technologies affect both productive efficiency and product quality in the recipient firms? Under what circumstances do firms pursue activities that give them access to foreign knowledge? To address these questions, the authors develop a new methodology and apply the framework to plant-level panel data from Colombia, Mexico, and Morocco. Their results point to several basic messages. First, by imposing enough structure on the production function and the demand system, it is possible to measure product quality and marginal costs at the plant level and to relate the evolution of these variables to firms' activity histories. Doing so, the authors find strong firm-level persistence in both quality and marginal costs. But in most industry or country panels that they study, past international activities help little in predicting current performance once past realizations on quality and marginal cost are controlled for. That is, activities do not typically Granger-cause performance. Interestingly, in the minority of cases where significant associations emerge, international activities appear to move costs and product quality in the same direction. So the net effect on profits in these cases is not immediately apparent. Second, several basic patterns emerge with respect to the determinants of international activities. Most fundamentally, activities are highly persistent, even after unobserved heterogeneity is controlled for. That suggests that firms incur sunk threshold costs when they initiate or cease activities, so temporary policy or macroeconomic shocks may have long-run effects on the patterns of activities observed in a particular country or industry. Also, activities tend to go together, so that studies that relate firms' performance to one international activity and ignore the others may generate misleading conclusions. But the bundling of activities seems to mainly reflect unobserved plant characteristics, such as managerial philosophy, contacts, product niche, and location. Once these are controlled for, there is little evidence that engaging in one international activity increases the probability that a firm will engage in others in the future.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2004-02) Kraay, Aart ; Nehru, VikramThis paper examines the determinants of "debt distress," which they define as periods in which countries resort to exceptional finance in any of three forms: (1) significant arrears on external debt, (2) Paris Club rescheduling, and (3) nonconcessional International Monetary Fund lending. Using probit regressions, the authors find that three factors explain a substantial fraction of the cross-country and time-series variation in the incidence of debt distress: the debt burden, the quality of policies and institutions, and shocks. They show that these results are robust to a variety of alternative specifications, and that their core specifications have substantial out-of-sample predictive power. The authors also explore the quantitative implications of these results for the lending strategies of official creditors.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-05) Jarotschkin, Alexandra ; Kraay, AartAid donors and recipients have long been concerned that aid inflows may lead to an appreciation of the real exchange rate and an associated loss of competitiveness. This paper provides new evidence of the dynamic effects of aid on the real exchange rate, using an identification strategy that exploits the long delays between the approval of aid projects and the subsequent disbursements on them. These disbursement delays enable the isolation of a source of variation in aid inflows that is uncorrelated with contemporaneous macroeconomic shocks that may drive both aid and the real exchange rate. Using this predetermined component of aid as an instrument, there is little evidence that aid inflows lead to significant real exchange rate appreciations.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002-02) Kaufmann, Daniel ; Kraay, Aart ; Zoido-Lobaton, PabloThe authors construct aggregate governance indicators for six dimensions of governance, covering 175 countries in 2000-01. They apply the methodology developed in Kaufmann, Kraay, and Zoido-Lobaton ("Aggregating Governance Indicators", Policy Research Working Paper 2195, and "Governance Matters", Policy Research Working Paper 2196, October 1999) to newly available data at governance indicators comparable with those constructed for 1997-98. The data is presented I the appendix, and accessible through an interactive Web-interface at http://www.worldbank.org/wbi/governance/govdata2001.htm.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2004-02) Kraay, AartGrowth 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(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-05) Kraay, Aart ; Murrell, PeterEstimates 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(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-02) Kraay, Aart ; Serven, LuisThe 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.
Government Spending Multipliers in Developing Countries : Evidence from Lending by Official Creditors(American Economic Association, 2014-10) Kraay, AartThis paper uses a novel loan-level dataset covering lending by official creditors to developing country governments to construct an instrument for government spending. These loans typically finance multi-year spending projects, with disbursements linked to the stages of project implementation. The identification strategy exploits the long lags between approval and eventual disbursement of these loans to isolate a predetermined component of public spending associated with past loan approval decisions taken before the realization of contemporaneous shocks. In a large sample of 102 developing countries over the period 1970-2010, the one-year spending multiplier is reasonably-precisely estimated to be around 0.4.