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Capital Controls in Brazil – Stemming a Tide with a Signal

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  • Yothin Jinjarak

    (SOAS, University of London)

  • Ilan Noy

    ()
    (University of Hawaii and Victoria Business School in Wellington)

  • Huanhuan Zheng

    ()
    (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

Abstract

Controls on capital inflows have been experiencing a period akin to a renaissance since the beginning of the global financial crisis in 2008, with several prominent countries choosing to impose controls; e.g., Thailand, Korea, Peru, Indonesia, and Brazil. We focus on the case of Brazil, a country that instituted five changes in its capital account regime in 2008-2011, and ask what the impacts of these policy changes were. Using the Abadie et al. (2010) synthetic control methodology, we construct counterfactuals (i.e., Brazil with no capital account policy change) for each policy change event. We find no evidence that any tightening of controls was effective in reducing the magnitudes of capital inflows, but we observe some modest and short-lived success in preventing further declines in inflows when the capital controls are relaxed as was done in the immediate aftermath of the Lehman bankruptcy in 2008 and in January 2011 by the newly inaugurated government of Dilma Rousseff. We hypothesize that price-based capital controls’ only perceptible effect are to be found in the content of the signal they broadcast regarding the government’s larger intentions and sensibilities. Brazil’s left-of-center government was widely perceived as ambivalent to markets. An imposition of controls was not perceived as ‘news’ and thus had no impact. A willingness to remove controls was perceived, however, as a noteworthy indication that the government was not as hostile to the international financial markets as many expected it to be.

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File URL: http://www.economics.hawaii.edu/research/workingpapers/WP_12-13.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 201213.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 17 Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:201213

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Keywords: Capital control; Brazil; Global financial crisis; Mutual fund flows; Exchange rate;

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References

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  1. Kristin Forbes & Marcel Fratzscher & Thomas Kostka & Roland Straub, 2012. "Bubble Thy Neighbor: Portfolio Effects and Externalities from Capital Controls," NBER Working Papers 18052, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Abadie, Alberto & Diamond, Alexis & Hainmueller, Jens, 2010. "Synthetic Control Methods for Comparative Case Studies: Estimating the Effect of California’s Tobacco Control Program," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 105(490), pages 493-505.
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  17. Sebastian Edwards, 1999. "How Effective are Capital Controls?," NBER Working Papers 7413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  25. Straetmans, Stefan T.M. & Versteeg, Roald J. & Wolff, Christian C.P., 2013. "Are capital controls in the foreign exchange market effective?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 36-53.
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Cited by:
  1. Forbes, Kristin & Fratzscher, Marcel & Straub, Roland, 2014. "Capital Controls and Macroprudential Measures: What Are They Good For?," CEPR Discussion Papers 9798, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Huanhuan Zheng & Qingyong Zhang, 2013. "Property Tax in China: Is It Effective in Curbing Housing Price?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(4), pages 2465-2474.
  3. Olivier J. Blanchard & Giovanni Dell'Ariccia & Paolo Mauro, 2013. "Rethinking Macro Policy II," IMF Staff Discussion Notes 13/003, International Monetary Fund.

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