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 65
Good Countries or Good Projects?: Comparing Macro and Micro Correlates of World Bank and Asian Development Bank Project Performance(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-04) Bulman, David ; Kolkma, Walter ; Kraay, AartThis paper examines the micro and macro correlates of aid project outcomes in a sample of 3,821 World Bank projects and 1,342 Asian Development Bank projects. Project outcomes vary much more within countries than between countries: country-level characteristics explain only 10–25 percent of project outcomes. Among macro variables, country growth and the policy environment are significantly positively correlated with project outcomes. Among micro variables, shorter project duration and the presence of additional financing are significantly correlated with better project outcomes. In addition, the track record of the project manager in delivering successful projects is highly significantly correlated with project outcomes. There are few significant differences between the two institutions in the relationship between these variables and project outcomes.
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, 2007-07) Kaufmann, Daniel ; Kraay, Aart ; Mastruzzi, MassimoThis 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 2006: voice and accountability, political stability and absence of violence, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, rule of law, and control of corruption. This latest set of aggregate indicators are based on hundreds of specific and disaggregated individual variables measuring various dimensions of governance taken from 33 data sources provided by 30 different organizations. The data reflect the views on governance of public sector, private sector, and nongovernmental organization experts, as well as thousands of citizen and firm survey respondents worldwide. The paper also explicitly reports the margins of error accompanying each country estimate. These reflect the inherent difficulties in measuring governance using any kind of data. It finds 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. The decade-long aggregate indicators, together with the disaggregated individual indicators, are available in a newly-redesigned website at www.govindicators.org.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2000-09) Ghosh, Swati R. ; Kraay, AartGains in total factor productivity (TFP) reflecting more efficient use of inputs, have long been recognized as an important source of improvements in income and welfare. Cross-country differences in income levels and growth rates are mostly due to differences in productivity. Measuring TFP is therefore important in assessing countries' past and potential economic performance. But it is also difficult. This note discusses some of the difficulties using data for the Republic of Korea in 1960-70 for illustration.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-10) Eden, Maya ; Kraay, Aart ; Qian, RongThis paper uses a large cross-country dataset to empirically examine factors associated with sovereign defaults on external private creditors and expropriation of foreign direct investments in developing countries since the 1970s. In the long run, sovereign defaults and expropriations are likely to occur in the same countries. In the short run, however, these events are uncorrelated. Defaults are more likely to occur following periods of rapid debt accumulation, when growth is low, and in countries with weak policy performance, and defaults are not strongly persistent over time. In contrast, expropriations are not systematically related to the level of foreign direct investment, to growth, or to policy performance. Expropriations are however less likely under right-wing governments, and are strongly persistent over time. There is also little evidence that a history of recent defaults is associated with expropriations, and vice versa. The paper discusses the implications of these findings for models that emphasize retaliation as means for sustaining sovereign borrowing and foreign investment in equilibrium, as well as the implications for political risk insurance against the two types of events.
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.
Government Spending Multipliers in Developing Countries : Evidence from Lending by Official Creditors(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-06) Kraay, AartThis 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(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2005-12) Dollar, David ; Kraay, AartChina in the past few years has emerged as a net foreign creditor on the international scene with net foreign assets slightly greater than zero percent of wealth. This is surprising given that China is a relatively poor country with a capital-labor ratio about one-fifth the world average and one-tenth the U.S. level. The main questions that the authors address are whether it makes economic sense for China to be a net creditor and how they see China's net foreign asset position evolving over the next 20 years. They calibrate a theoretical model of international capital flows featuring diminishing returns, production risk, and sovereign risk. The calibrations for China yield a predicted net foreign asset position of -17 percent of China's wealth. The authors also estimate nonstructural cross-country regressions of determinants of net foreign assets in which China is always a significant outlier with 5 to 7 percentage points more of net foreign assets relative to wealth than is predicted by its characteristics. China's extensive capital controls can explain why its current net foreign asset position is far away from what is predicted by open-economy models and cross-country empirics. It seems reasonable to assume that China's international financial integration will increase over time. The authors calibrate and predict different scenarios out to 2025. These scenarios are necessarily speculative, but it is interesting that they typically imply negative net foreign asset positions between 3 and 9 percent of wealth. What may be counter-intuitive for many policymakers is that successful institutional reform and productivity growth are likely to lead to more negative net foreign asset positions than occurs with stagnation. Starting from China's zero net foreign assets position, it would take current account deficits in the range of 2-5 percent of GDP to reach any of these net foreign assets positions. These are not unreasonable deficits, but they require a large adjustment from the present 6 percent of GDP current account surplus.
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.