Kraay, Aart

Development Research Group, The World Bank
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Macroeconomics, Debt management, Economic growth, Inequality and shared prosperity
Development Research Group, The World Bank
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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 714 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 10
  • 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
    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
    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
    "Crowding in" and the Returns to Government Investment in Low-Income Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-02) Eden, Maya; Kraay, Aart
    This paper estimates the effect of government investment on private investment in a sample of 39 low-income countries. Fluctuations in a predetermined component of disbursements on loans from official creditors to developing country governments are used as an instrument for fluctuations in public investment. The analysis finds evidence of "crowding in": an extra dollar of government investment raises private investment by roughly two dollars, and output by 1.5 dollars. To understand the implications for the return to public investment, a CES production function with public and private capital as inputs is calibrated. For most countries in the sample, the returns to government investment exceed the world interest rate. However, for some countries that already have high government investment rates, the return to further investment is below the world interest rate.
  • Publication
    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.
  • Publication
    Predicting World Bank Project Outcome Ratings
    (World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2014-08-01) Geli, Patricia; Kraay, Aart; Nobakht, Hoveida
    A number of recent studies have empirically documented links between characteristics of World Bank projects and their ultimate outcomes as evaluated by the World Bank's Independent Evaluation Group. This paper explores the in-sample and out-of-sample predictive performance of empirical models relating project outcomes to project characteristics observed early in the life of a project. Such models perform better than self-assessments of project performance provided by World Bank staff during the implementation of the project. These findings are applied to the problem of predicting eventual Independent Evaluation Group ratings for currently active projects in the World Bank's portfolio.
  • Publication
    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, Aart
    This 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
    Government Spending Multipliers in Developing Countries: Evidence from Lending by Official Creditors
    (American Economic Association, 2014-10) Kraay, Aart
    The author uses a novel loan-level dataset covering lending by official creditors to developing country governments to construct an instrument for government spending. Loans from official creditors typically finance multiyear public 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.
  • Publication
    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.
  • Publication
    Sovereign Defaults and Expropriations : Empirical Regularities
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-10) Eden, Maya; Kraay, Aart
    This 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.