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How Effective Are Capital Controls?

  • Sebastian Edwards

A number of authors have recently argued that, in order to avoid financial instability, emerging countries should rely on capital controls. Two type of controls have been considered: controls on capital outflows, and controls on capital inflows. In this paper I review the historical evidence on the effectiveness of these two type of controls. I argue that controls on outflows have been ineffective. They are circumvented and breed corruption. I also analyze Chile's recent experience with controls on inflows, and I argue that their effectiveness has been exaggerated.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 13 (1999)
Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
Pages: 65-84

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:13:y:1999:i:4:p:65-84
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.13.4.65
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  1. Michael P. Dooley & Donald J. Mathieson & Liliana Rojas-Suarez, 1997. "Capital Mobility and Exchange Market Intervention in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 6247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sebastian Edwards & Julio A. Santaella, 1992. "Devaluation Controversies in the Developing Countries: Lessons From the Bretton Woods Era," NBER Working Papers 4047, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Reinhart, Carmen & Montiel, Peter, 1999. "Do capital controls influence the volume and composition of capital flows? Evidence from the 1990s," MPRA Paper 13710, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Sebastian Edwards, 1998. "Interest Rate Volatily, Contagion and Convergence: And Empirical Investigation of the Cases of Argentina, Chile and México," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 55-86, November.
  5. Marcelo Soto & Salvador Valdés, 1996. "¿Es el Control Selectivo de Capitales Efectivo en Chile? Su Efecto sobre el Tipo de Cambio Real," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 33(98), pages 77-108.
  6. Martin Feldstein & Charles Horioka, 1979. "Domestic Savings and International Capital Flows," NBER Working Papers 0310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Sebastian Edwards, 2000. "Capital Flows, Real Exchange Rates, and Capital Controls: Some Latin American Experiences," NBER Chapters, in: Capital Flows and the Emerging Economies: Theory, Evidence, and Controversies, pages 197-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Maurice Obstfeld, 1986. "International Finance," NBER Working Papers 2077, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Dornbusch, Rudiger & Edwards, Sebastian, 1989. "The macroeconomics of populism in Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 316, The World Bank.
  10. Alesina, Alberto F & Grilli, Vittorio & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 1993. "The Political Economy of Capital Controls," CEPR Discussion Papers 793, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Edwards, Sebastian & Edwards, Alejandra Cox, 1991. "Monetarism and Liberalization," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226184890.
  12. Barry Eichengreen & Charles Wyplosz, 1993. "The Unstable EMS," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(1), pages 51-144.
  13. Kenneth Rogoff, 1999. "International Institutions for Reducing Global Financial Instability," NBER Working Papers 7265, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Carmen M. Reinhart & Graciela L. Kaminsky, 1999. "The Twin Crises: The Causes of Banking and Balance-of-Payments Problems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 473-500, June.
  15. Salvador Valdés-Prieto & Marcelo Soto, 1998. "The Effectiveness of Capital Controls: Theory and Evidence from Chile," Empirica, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 133-164, January.
  16. Montiel, Peter J., 1993. "Capital mobility in developing countries : some measurement issues and empirical estimates," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1103, The World Bank.
  17. Rudiger Dornbusch & Sebastian Edwards, 1989. "Macroeconomic Populism in Latin America," NBER Working Papers 2986, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Sebastian Edwards, 1999. "Crisis Prevention: Lessons from Mexico and East Asia," NBER Working Papers 7233, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. James Tobin, 1978. "A Proposal for International Monetary Reform," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 506, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  20. Fischer, S. & Cooper, R.N. & Dornbusch, R. & Garber, P.M. & Massad, C. & Polak, J.J. & Rodrik, D. & Tarapore, S.S., 1998. "Should the IMF Pursue Capital-Account Convertibility?," Princeton Essays in International Economics 207, International Economics Section, Departement of Economics Princeton University,.
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