Person: Kraay, Aart
Development Research Group, The World Bank
Author Name Variants
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 17
PublicationGood Countries or Good Projects? Macro and Micro Correlates of World Bank Project Performance(Elsevier, 2013-07-13) Denizer, Cevdet; Kaufmann, Daniel; Kraay, AartThis 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. PublicationGovernance Matters VII : Aggregate and Individual Governance Indicators 1996-2007(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-06) 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 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 www.govindicators.org. PublicationGovernment Matters III : Governance Indicators for 1996-2002(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. PublicationMeasuring Corruption : Myths and Realities(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-04) Kaufmann, Daniel; Kraay, Aart; Mastruzzi, MassimoThe report points out that over the past decade measuring corruption has become an ever-growing empirical field. This empirical analysis questions the traditional notion of viewing the firm as an 'investment climate taker' and thus ignoring the view that powerful conglomerates can also shape the business climate and thus become 'investment climate makers'. The study implies that it is warranted to move away from simply blaming government officials for prevailing corruption, and to question the value of popular initiatives such as voluntary-and often un-monitorable-codes of conduct. In this report, some popular notions are espoused, which either lack clarity or are not backed up by rigorous analysis or evidence. In this article the authors highlight some of the main issues in these debates, in the form of seven myths and their associated realities, and conclude by also pointing to some brief implications for the private sector role in fighting corruption. PublicationThe Worldwide Governance Indicators Project : Answering the Critics(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-03) Kaufmann, Daniel; Kraay, Aart; Mastruzzi, MassimoThe Worldwide Governance Indicators, reporting estimates of six dimensions of governance for over 200 countries between 1996 and 2005, have become widely used among policymakers and academics. They have also attracted some explicit written criticisms. In this short paper the authors synthesize 11 critiques offered by four recent papers. They then refute them as either conceptually incorrect or empirically unsubstantiated. PublicationGovernance Matters VI : Aggregate and Individual Governance Indicators, 1996-2006(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. PublicationGrowth without Governance(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002-11) Kaufmann, Daniel; Kraay, AartIt is well known that there is a strong positive correlation between per capita incomes and the quality of governance across countries. the authors propose an empirical strategy that allows separation of this correlation into (1) a strong positive causal effect running from better governance to higher per capita incomes, and, perhaps surprisingly at first, (2) a weak and even negative causal effect running in the opposite direction from per capita incomes to governance. The first result confirms existing evidence on the importance of good governance for economic development. The second result is new and suggests the absence of a "virtuous circle" in which higher incomes lead to further improvements in governance. This motivates the authors' choice of title, "Growth Without Governance." They document this evidence using a newly updated set of worldwide governance-indicators covering 175 countries for the period 2000-01, and use the results to interpret the relationship between incomes and governance focusing on the Latin America and Caribbean region-within a worldwide empirical context. Finally, the authors speculate about the potential importance of elite influence and state capture in accounting for the surprising negative effects of per capita incomes on governance, present some evidence on such capture in some Latin American countries, and suggest priorities for actions to improve governance when such pernicious elite influence shapes public policy. PublicationGovernance Matters IV : Governance Indicators for 1996-2004(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. PublicationGovernance Indicators(World Bank, 2008-03-01) Kaufmann, Daniel; Kraay, AartProgress in measuring governance is assessed using a simple framework that distinguishes between indicators that measure formal rules and indicators that measure the practical application or outcomes of these rules. The analysis calls attention to the strengths and weaknesses of both types of indicators as well as the complementarities between them. It distinguishes between the views of experts and the results of surveys and assesses the merits of aggregate as opposed to individual governance indicators. Some simple principles are identified to guide the use and refinement of existing governance indicators and the development of future indicators. These include transparently disclosing and accounting for the margins of error in all indicators, drawing from a diversity of indicators and exploiting complementarities among them, submitting all indicators to rigorous public and academic scrutiny, and being realistic in expectations of future indicators. PublicationGovernance Matters III : Governance Indicators for 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2002(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2004-05) Kaufmann, Daniel; Kraay, Aart; Mastruzzi, MassimoThis article presents estimates of six dimensions of governance for 199 countries and territories for 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2002 developed in the context of an ongoing project to measure governance across countries. Section one describes the data used in developing this round of the governance indicators, which include several new sources. Data sources used in the earlier studies were updated forward to 2002 and backward to 1996, and previously estimated indicators for 1998 and 2000were revised to reflect the new data. The aggregation procedure, described in section two, provides not only estimates of governance for each country but also measures of the precision or reliability of these estimates. Although the new data have improved the precision of the governance indicators, the margins of error remain large relative to the units in which governance is measured, so that comparisons across countries and especially over time should be made with caution.