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Capital Flows to Developing Countries: The Allocation Puzzle

  • Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas
  • Olivier Jeanne

The textbook neoclassical growth model predicts that countries with faster productivity growth should invest more and attract more foreign capital. We show that the allocation of capital flows across developing countries is the opposite of this prediction: capital does not flow more to countries that invest and grow more. We call this puzzle the "allocation puzzle". Using a wedge analysis, we find that the pattern of capital flows is driven by national saving: the allocation puzzle is a saving puzzle. Further disaggregation of capital flows reveals that the allocation puzzle is also related to the pattern of accumulation of international reserves. The solution to the "allocation puzzle", thus, lies at the nexus between growth, saving, and international reserve accumulation. We conclude with a discussion of some possible avenues for research. Copyright 2013, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 80 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 1484-1515

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Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:80:y:2013:i:4:p:1484-1515
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