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 13
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-10) Kaufmann, Daniel ; Kraay, AartScholars, policymakers, aid donors, and aid recipients acknowledge the importance of good governance for development. This understanding has spurred an intense interest in more refined, nuanced, and policy-relevant indicators of governance. In this paper we review progress to date in the area of measuring governance, using a simple framework of analysis focusing on two key questions: (i) what do we measure? and, (ii) whose views do we rely on? For the former question, we distinguish between indicators measuring formal laws or rules 'on the books', and indicators that measure the practical application or outcomes of these rules 'on the ground', calling attention to the strengths and weaknesses of both types of indicators as well as the complementarities between them. For the latter question, we distinguish between experts and survey respondents on whose views governance assessments are based, again highlighting their advantages, disadvantages, and complementarities. We also review the merits of aggregate as opposed to individual governance indicators. We conclude with some simple principles to guide the refinement of existing governance indicators and the development of future indicators. We emphasize the need to: transparently disclose and account for the margins of error in all indicators; draw from a diversity of indicators and exploit complementarities among them; submit all indicators to rigorous public and academic scrutiny; and, in light of the lessons of over a decade of existing indicators, to be realistic in the expectations of future indicators.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-04) Kraay, AartThe Egyptian pound depreciated sharply between 2000 and 2005, declining by 26 percent in nominal trade-weighted terms. The author investigates the effect of the large depreciation on household welfare operating through exchange rate-induced changes in consumer prices. He estimates exchange rate pass-through regressions using disaggregated monthly consumer price indices to isolate the impact of the exchange rate changes on consumer prices. Then he uses household-level data from the 2000 and 2005 Egyptian household surveys to quantify the welfare effects of these consumer price changes at the household level. The average welfare loss due to exchange rate-induced price increases was equivalent to 7.4 percent of initial expenditure. Stronger estimated exchange rate pass-through for food items imply that this effect disproportionately affected poorer households.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2005-06) Kaufmann, Daniel ; Kraay, Aart ; Mastruzzi, MassimoThe authors present the latest update of their aggregate governance indicators, together with new analysis of several issues related to the use of these measures. The governance indicators measure the following six dimensions of governance: (1) voice and accountability; (2) political instability and violence; (3) government effectiveness; (4) regulatory quality; (5) rule of law, and (6) control of corruption. They cover 209 countries and territories for 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2004. They are based on several hundred individual variables measuring perceptions of governance, drawn from 37 separate data sources constructed by 31 organizations. The authors present estimates of the six dimensions of governance for each period, as well as margins of error capturing the range of likely values for each country. These margins of error are not unique to perceptions-based measures of governance, but are an important feature of all efforts to measure governance, including objective indicators. In fact, the authors give examples of how individual objective measures provide an incomplete picture of even the quite particular dimensions of governance that they are intended to measure. The authors also analyze in detail changes over time in their estimates of governance; provide a framework for assessing the statistical significance of changes in governance; and suggest a simple rule of thumb for identifying statistically significant changes in country governance over time. The ability to identify significant changes in governance over time is much higher for aggregate indicators than for any individual indicator. While the authors find that the quality of governance in a number of countries has changed significantly (in both directions), they also provide evidence suggesting that there are no trends, for better or worse, in global averages of governance. Finally, they interpret the strong observed correlation between income and governance, and argue against recent efforts to apply a discount to governance performance in low-income countries.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-09) Kaufmann, Daniel ; Kraay, Aart ; Mastruzzi, MassimoThe authors report on the latest version of the worldwide governance indicators, covering 213 countries and territories and measuring six dimensions of governance from 1996 until end-2005: voice and accountability, political stability and absence of violence, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, rule of law, and control of corruption. The latest indicators are based on hundreds of variables and reflect the views of thousands of citizen and firm survey respondents and experts worldwide. Although global averages of governance display no marked trends during 1996-2005, nearly one-third of countries exhibit significant changes [for better or for worse] on at least one dimension of governance. Three new features distinguish this update. (1) The authors have moved to annual reporting of governance estimates. This update includes new governance estimates for 2003 and 2005, as well as minor backward revisions to biannual historical data for 1996-2004. (2) The authors are, for the first time, publishing the individual measures of governance from virtually every data source underlying the aggregate governance indicators. The ready availability of the individual data sources underlying the aggregate governance indicators is aimed at further enhancing the transparency of the methodology and of the resulting aggregate indicators, as well as helping data users and policymakers identify specific governance challenges in individual countries. (3) The authors present new evidence on the reliability of expert assessments of governance which, alongside survey responses, form part of the aggregate measures of governance.
Publication( 2010-09-01) Kaufmann, Daniel ; Kraay, Aart ; Mastruzzi, MassimoThis paper summarizes the methodology of the Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) project, and related analytical issues. The WGI cover over 200 countries and territories, measuring six dimensions of governance starting in 1996: Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence/Terrorism, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law, and Control of Corruption. The aggregate indicators are based on several hundred individual underlying variables, taken from a wide variety of existing data sources. The data reflect the views on governance of survey respondents and public, private, and NGO sector experts worldwide. The WGI also explicitly report margins of error accompanying each country estimate. These reflect the inherent difficulties in measuring governance using any kind of data. Even after taking these margins of error into account, the WGI permit meaningful cross-country and over-time comparisons. The aggregate indicators, together with the disaggregated underlying source data, are available at www.govindicators.org.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-04) Kraay, Aart ; McKenzie, DavidThis paper reviews the empirical evidence on the existence of poverty traps, understood as self-reinforcing mechanisms through which poor individuals or countries remain poor. Poverty traps have captured the interest of many development policy makers, because poverty traps provide a theoretically coherent explanation for persistent poverty. They also suggest that temporary policy interventions may have long-term effects on poverty. However, a review of the reduced-form empirical evidence suggests that truly stagnant incomes of the sort predicted by standard models of poverty traps are in fact quite rare. Moreover, the empirical evidence regarding several canonical mechanisms underlying models of poverty traps is mixed.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2003-08) Kaufmann, Daniel ; Kraay, Aart ; Mastruzzi, MassimoThe authors present estimates of six dimensions of governance covering 199 countries and territories for four time periods: 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2002. These indicators are based on several hundred individual variables measuring perceptions of governance, drawn from 25 separate data sources constructed by 18 different organizations. The authors assign these individual measures of governance to categories capturing key dimensions of governance and use an unobserved components model to construct six aggregate governance indicators in each of the four periods. They present the point estimates of the dimensions of governance as well as the margins of errors for each country for the four periods. The governance indicators reported here are an update and expansion of previous research work on indicators initiated in 1998 (Kaufmann, Kraay, and Zoido-Lobat 1999a,b and 2002). The authors also address various methodological issues, including the interpretation and use of the data given the estimated margins of errors.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-04) Dollar, David ; Kleineberg, Tatjana ; Kraay, AartSocial welfare functions that assign weights to individuals based on their income levels can be used to document the relative importance of growth and inequality changes for changes in social welfare. In a large panel of industrial and developing countries over the past 40 years, most of the cross-country and over-time variation in changes in social welfare is due to changes in average incomes. In contrast, the changes in inequality observed during this period are on average much smaller than changes in average incomes, are uncorrelated with changes in average incomes, and have contributed relatively little to changes in social welfare.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2001-04) Dollar, David ; Kraay, AartWhen average income rises, the average incomes of the poorest fifth of society rise proportionately. This is a consequence of the strong empirical regularity that the share of income accruing to the bottom quintile does not vary systematically with average income. The authors document this empirical regularity in a sample of 92 countries spanning the past four decades and show that it holds across regions, periods, income levels, and growth rates. The authors next ask whether the factors that explain cross-country differences in the growth rates of average incomes have differential effects on the poorest fifth of society. They find that several determinants of growth--such as good rule of law, opennness to international trade, and developed financial markets--have little systematic effect on the share of income that accrues to the bottom quintile. Consequently, these factors benefit the poorest fifth of society as much as everyone else. Thee is some weak evidence that stabilization from high inflation and reductions in the overall size of government not only increase growth but also increase the income share of the poorest fifth in society. Finally, the authors examine several factors commonly thought to disproportionately benefit the poorest in society, but find little evidence of their effects. The absence of robust findings emphasizes that relatively little is known about the broad forces that account for the cross-country and intertemporal variation in the share of income accruing to the poorest fifth of society.
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.