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How Effective are Capital Controls? Evidence from Malaysia

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This paper examines the role of capital controls as a macroeconomic policy tool in light of the Malaysian experience. It consists of an econometric analysis of quarterly data over the period 1990–2010 using newly constructed capital inflow and outflow policy indexes as well as analytical narratives of episodes of controls imposed on inflows (1994) and outflows (1998–1999). The findings suggest that well-targeted controls have the potential to tame both short-term capital inflows and outflows without exerting a backwash effect on foreign direct investment, at least in the short to medium term. Controls on capital inflows introduced in the first half of 1994 helped moderate accumulation of short-term capital flows, particularly short-term bank credit. During 1998–1999, carefully designed temporary capital controls were successful in providing Malaysian policymakers a viable setting for applying the standard Keynesian therapy.

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  • Athukorala, Prema-Chandra & Jongwanich, Juthathip, 2012. "How Effective are Capital Controls? Evidence from Malaysia," Asian Development Review, Asian Development Bank, vol. 29(2), pages 1-47.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:adbadr:2745
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    1. Edison, Hali & Reinhart, Carmen M., 2001. "Stopping hot money," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 533-553, December.
    2. Montiel, Peter & Reinhart, Carmen M., 1999. "Do capital controls and macroeconomic policies influence the volume and composition of capital flows? Evidence from the 1990s," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 619-635, August.
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    4. Ethan Kaplan & Dani Rodrik, 2002. "Did the Malaysian Capital Controls Work?," NBER Chapters,in: Preventing Currency Crises in Emerging Markets, pages 393-440 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Prema-chandra Athukorala, 2010. "Malaysian Economy in Three Crises," Departmental Working Papers 2010-12, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
    6. Mody, Ashoka & Murshid, Antu Panini, 2005. "Growing up with capital flows," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 249-266, January.
    7. Anne Krueger & Aaron Tornell, 1999. "The Role of Bank Restructuring in Recovering from Crises: Mexico 1995-98," NBER Working Papers 7042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Binici, Mahir & Hutchison, Michael & Schindler, Martin, 2010. "Controlling capital? Legal restrictions and the asset composition of international financial flows," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 666-684, June.
    9. Martin Schindler, 2009. "Measuring Financial Integration: A New Data Set," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 56(1), pages 222-238, April.
    10. Prema-chandra Athukorala, 2003. "FDI in Crisis and Recovery: Lessons from the 1997-98 Asian Crisis," Departmental Working Papers 2003-04, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hal Hill & Maria Socorro Gochoco- Bautista, 2013. "Perspectives and issues," Chapters,in: Asia Rising, chapter 1, pages 3-45 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Bruno, Valentina & Shim, Ilhyock & Shin, Hyun Song, 2017. "Comparative assessment of macroprudential policies," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 183-202.
    3. Zhang, Longmei & Zoli, Edda, 2016. "Leaning against the wind: Macroprudential policy in Asia," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 33-52.
    4. Li, Jie & Rajan, Ramkishen S., 2015. "Do capital controls make gross equity flows to emerging markets less volatile?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 220-244.
    5. Abhijit SenGupta & Rajeswari Sengupta, 2014. "Capital flows and capital account management in selected Asian economies," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2014-040, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    6. Gochoco-Bautista, Maria Socorro & Remolona, Eli M., 2012. "Going Regional: How to Deepen ASEAN's Financial Markets," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 300, Asian Development Bank.
    7. IRC Task Force on IMF issues & Broos, Menno & Ghalanos, Michalis & Kennedy, Bernard & Landbeck, Alexander & Lerner, Christina & Menezes, Paula & Schiavone, Alessandro & Tilley, Thomas & Viani, Frances, 2016. "Dealing with large and volatile capital flows and the role of the IMF," Occasional Paper Series 180, European Central Bank.
    8. Pornpinun Chantapacdepong & Ilhyock Shim, 2014. "Correlations across Asia-Pacific bond markets and the impact of capital flow measures," BIS Working Papers 472, Bank for International Settlements.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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