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A Theory of Capital Controls as Dynamic Terms-of-Trade Manipulation

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  • Arnaud Costinot
  • Guido Lorenzoni
  • Iván Werning

Abstract

This paper develops a simple theory of capital controls as dynamic terms-of-trade manipulation. We study an infinite horizon endowment economy with two countries. One country chooses taxes on international capital flows in order to maximize the welfare of its representative agent, while the other country is passive. We show that capital controls are not guided by the absolute desire to alter the intertemporal price of the goods produced in any given period, but rather by the relative strength of this desire between two consecutive periods. Specifically, it is optimal for the strategic country to tax capital inflows (or subsidize capital outflows) if it grows faster than the rest of the world and to tax capital outflows (or subsidize capital inflows) if it grows more slowly. In the long-run, if relative endowments converge to a steady state, taxes on international capital flows converge to zero. Although our theory emphasizes interest rate manipulation, the country's net financial position per se is irrelevant.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17680.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Publication status: published as Arnaud Costinot & Guido Lorenzoni & Iv�n Werning, 2014. "A Theory of Capital Controls as Dynamic Terms-of-Trade Manipulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(1), pages 77 - 128.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17680

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References

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  1. Aoki, Kosuke & Benigno, Gianluca & Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro, 2010. "Adjusting to Capital Account Liberalization," CEPR Discussion Papers 8087, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Nicolas E. Magud E. & Carmen M. & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "Capital Controls: Myth and Reality--A Portfolio Balance Approach," Working Paper Series WP11-7, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  3. Martin, Alberto & Taddei, Filippo, 2010. "International Capital Flows and Credit Market Imperfections: A Tale of Two Frictions," CEPR Discussion Papers 8131, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Olivier Jeanne & Anton Korinek, 2010. "Excessive Volatility in Capital Flows: A Pigouvian Taxation Approach," NBER Working Papers 15927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, December.
  6. Costas Arkolakis & Arnaud Costinot & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2009. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," NBER Working Papers 15628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Christian Broda & Nuno Limao & David E. Weinstein, 2008. "Optimal Tariffs and Market Power: The Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2032-65, December.
  8. Jonathan David Ostry & Atish R. Ghosh & Karl Friedrich Habermeier & Marcos Chamon & Mahvash Saeed Qureshi & Dennis B. S. Reinhardt, 2010. "Capital Inflows," IMF Staff Position Notes 2010/04, International Monetary Fund.
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Cited by:
  1. Gianluca Benigno & Huigang Chen & Christopher Otrok & Alessandro Rebucci & Eric R. Young, 2012. "Capital Controls or Exchange Rate Policy? A Pecuniary Externality Perspective," CEP Discussion Papers dp1160, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Emmanuel Farhi & Ivan Werning, 2012. "Dealing with the Trilemma: Optimal Capital Controls with Fixed Exchange Rates," NBER Working Papers 18199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Straub, Roland & Forbes, Kristin & Fratzscher, Marcel & Kostka, Thomas, 2013. "Bubble Thy Neighbor: Portfolio Effects and Externalities from Capital Controls," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79785, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  4. Benigno, Gianluca & Fornaro, Luca, 2013. "The Financial Resource Curse," CEPR Discussion Papers 9489, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Davis, Scott & Presno, Ignacio, 2014. "Capital controls as an instrument of monetary policy," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 171, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  6. James P. Gander, 2013. "A Simple Dynamic-Control Macro Model to Examine the Behavior of International Reserves for Selected Economies," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, University of Utah 2013_11, University of Utah, Department of Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. Schmitt-Grohé, Stephanie & Uribe, Martín, 2012. "Prudential Policy for Peggers," CEPR Discussion Papers 8961, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Eden, Maya & Nguyen, Ha, 2012. "Correcting real exchange rate misalignment : conceptual and practical issues," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6045, The World Bank.
  10. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2012. "Prudential Policy for Peggers," NBER Working Papers 18031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Zheng Liu & Mark M. Spiegel, 2013. "Monetary policy regimes and capital account restrictions in a small open economy," Working Paper Series 2013-33, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

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