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Regaining Control? Capital Controls and the Global Financial Crisis

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  • Kevin Gallagher
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    Abstract

    The global financial crisis has triggered a transformation in thinking and practice regarding the role of government in managing international capital flows. This paper traces and evaluates the re-emergence of capital controls as legitimate tools to promote financial stability. Whereas capital controls were seen as “orthodox” by the framers of the Bretton Woods system, they were shunned during the neo-liberal era that began in the late 1970s. There is now an emerging consensus that capital controls can play a legitimate role in promoting financial stability. From 2009 to early 2011 a number of developing nations resorted to capital controls to halt the appreciation of their currencies, and to pursue independent monetary policies to cool asset bubbles and inflation.A preliminary analysis of the effectiveness of these controls is conducted for the cases of Brazil, South Korea, and Taiwan. This analysis suggests that Brazil and Taiwan have been relatively successful in deploying controls, though South Korea’s success has been more modest. The fact that capital controls continue to yield positive results is truly remarkable given the fact that there has been little (or contrary) support for global coordination, and that many nations lack the necessary institutions for effective policies. The paper concludes by pointing to the need for more concerted global and national efforts to manage global capital flows for stability and growth.

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    File URL: http://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/working_papers/working_papers_201-250/WP250.pdf
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    Paper provided by Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst in its series Working Papers with number wp250.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:uma:periwp:wp250

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    1. 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.
    2. Kose, M. Ayhan & Prasad, Eswar & Taylor, Ashley D., 2009. "Thresholds in the Process of International Financial Integration," IZA Discussion Papers 4133, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Ilene Grabel, 2003. "Averting crisis? Assessing measures to manage financial integration in emerging economies," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(3), pages 317-336, May.
    4. Bruno Coelho & Kevin Gallagher, 2010. "Capital Controls and 21st Century Financial Crises: Evidence from Colombia and Thailand," Working Papers wp213, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    5. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Stefan Nagel & Lasse H. Pedersen, 2009. "Carry Trades and Currency Crashes," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23, pages 313-347 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Guonan Ma & Robert N. McCauley, 2007. "Do China's capital controls still bind? Implications for monetary autonomy and capital liberalisation," BIS Working Papers 233, Bank for International Settlements.
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