Kraay, Aart

Development Research Group, The World Bank
Profile Picture
Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
Macroeconomics, Debt management, Economic growth, Inequality and shared prosperity
Development Research Group, The World Bank
Externally Hosted Work
Contact Information
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.
Citations 675 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
  • Thumbnail Image
    Aid, Disbursement Delays, and the Real Exchange Rate
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-05) Jarotschkin, Alexandra ; Kraay, Aart
    Aid 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.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Do Poverty Traps Exist?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-04) Kraay, Aart ; McKenzie, David
    This 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.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Does IDA Engage in Defensive Lending?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-08) Geginat, Carolin ; Kraay, Aart
    Multilateral development banks are frequently accused of "defensive lending," the practice of extending new loans purely in order to ensure that existing loans are repaid. This paper empirically examine this hypothesis using data on lending by and repayments to the International Development Association (IDA), which is the largest provider of concessional development loans to low-income countries. The authors argue that key institutional features of IDA both (i) potentially create incentives for defensive lending, and (ii) enable particularly sharp tests of the defensive lending hypothesis. The authors find that there is a surprisingly robust partial correlation between disbursements on new IDA loans and repayments on existing loans. However, a closer look at the evidence suggests that defensive lending is unlikely to be a major explanation for this partial correlation.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Governance Indicators : Where Are We, Where Should We Be Going?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-10) Kaufmann, Daniel ; Kraay, Aart
    Scholars, 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.
  • Thumbnail Image
    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
  • Thumbnail Image
    Instrumental Variables Regressions with Honestly Uncertain Exclusion Restrictions
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-05) Kraay, Aart
    The validity of instrumental variables (IV) regression models depends crucially on fundamentally untestable exclusion restrictions. Typically exclusion restrictions are assumed to hold exactly in the relevant population, yet in many empirical applications there are reasonable prior grounds to doubt their literal truth. In this paper I show how to incorporate prior uncertainty about the validity of the exclusion restriction into linear IV models, and explore the consequences for inference. In particular I provide a mapping from prior uncertainty about the exclusion restriction into increased uncertainty about parameters of interest. Moderate prior uncertainty about exclusion restrictions can lead to a substantial loss of precision in estimates of structural parameters. This loss of precision is relatively more important in situations where IV estimates appear to be more precise, for example in larger samples or with stronger instruments. The author illustrates these points using several prominent recent empirical papers that use linear IV models.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Do High Interest Rates Defend Currencies during Speculative Attacks?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2000-01) Kraay, Aart
    Drawing on evidence from a large sample of speculative attacks in industrial and developing countries, the author argues that high interest rates do not defend currencies against speculative attacks. In fact, there is a striking lack of any systematic association between interest rates and the outcome of speculative attacks. The lack of clear empirical evidence on the effects of high interest rates during speculative attacks mirrors the theoretical ambiguities on this issue.