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The Chinese Approach to Capital Inflows: Patterns and Possible Explanations

In: Capital Controls and Capital Flows in Emerging Economies: Policies, Practices and Consequences

  • Eswar Prasad
  • Shang-Jin Wei

In this paper, we adopt a cross-country perspective to examine the evolution of capital flows into China, both in terms of volumes and composition. China's inflows have generally been dominated by foreign direct investment (FDI), a pattern that appears to be favorable in light of the recent literature on the experiences of developing countries with financial globalization. We provide a detailed documentation of the evolution of China's capital controls, a proximate determinant of the pattern of capital inflows. We also discuss a number of other intriguing hypotheses that attempt to capture the "deeper" causes underlying China's approach to capital flows. In particular, we argue that some popular mercantilist-type arguments are inconsistent with the facts. We also analyze the recent rapid rise of China's international reserves and discuss its implications. Contrary to some popular perceptions, the dramatic surge in foreign exchange reserves since 2001 is mainly attributable to non-FDI capital inflows, rather than current account surpluses or FDI.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Sebastian Edwards, 2007. "Capital Controls and Capital Flows in Emerging Economies: Policies, Practices and Consequences," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number edwa06-1, August.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 0158.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:0158
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    1. Borensztein, E. & De Gregorio, J. & Lee, J-W., 1998. "How does foreign direct investment affect economic growth?1," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 115-135, June.
    2. Aizenman, Joshua & Marion, Nancy P., 2003. "International Reserve Holdings with Sovereign Risk and Costly Tax Collection," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt9s7978n1, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
    3. Michael P. Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter Garber, 2004. "The Revived Bretton Woods System: The Effects of Periphery Intervention and Reserve Management on Interest Rates & Exchange Rates in Center Countries," NBER Working Papers 10332, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Lane, Philip & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, . "External Wealth of Nations," Instructional Stata datasets for econometrics extwealth, Boston College Department of Economics.
    5. Julan Du & Shang-Jin Wei, 2004. "Does Insider Trading Raise Market Volatility?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(498), pages 916-942, October.
    6. Graciela L. Kaminsky & Carmen M. Reinhart & Carlos A. Vegh, 2004. "When it Rains, it Pours: Procyclical Capital Flows and Macroeconomic Policies," NBER Working Papers 10780, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Ricardo Hausmann & Eduardo Fernández-Arias, 2000. "Foreign Direct Investment: Good Cholesterol?," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6466, Inter-American Development Bank.
    8. M. Ayhan Kose & Kenneth Rogoff & Eswar Prasad & Shang-Jin Wei, 2003. "Effects of Financial Globalization on Developing Countries; Some Empirical Evidence," IMF Occasional Papers 220, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Gelos, Gaston & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2004. "Transparency and International Portfolio Holdings," CEPR Discussion Papers 4476, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Classens, S. & Dooley, M.P. & Warner, A., 1995. "Portfolio Capital Flows: Hot or Cold," Papers 501, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
    11. Eswar Prasad & Qing Wang & Thomas Rumbaugh, 2005. "Putting the Cart Before the Horse? Capital Account Liberalization and Exchange Rate Flexibility in China," IMF Policy Discussion Papers 05/1, International Monetary Fund.
    12. Michael Funke & Jörg Rahn, 2005. "Just how Undervalued is the Chinese Renminbi," Quantitative Macroeconomics Working Papers 20504, Hamburg University, Department of Economics.
    13. Shang-Jin Wei, 1997. "How Taxing is Corruption on International Investors?," NBER Working Papers 6030, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Enrica Detragiache & Antonio Spilimbergo, 2001. "Crises and Liquidity; Evidence and Interpretation," IMF Working Papers 01/2, International Monetary Fund.
    15. Shang-Jin Wei & Irina Tytell, 2004. "Does Financial Globalization Induce Better Macroeconomic Policies?," IMF Working Papers 04/84, International Monetary Fund.
    16. Jeffrey Frankel, 2005. "On the Renminbi: The Choice between Adjustment under a Fixed Exchange Rate and Adjustment under a Flexible Rate," NBER Working Papers 11274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Marco Terrones & Eswar Prasad & M. Ayhan Kose, 2003. "Financial Integration and Macroeconomic Volatility," IMF Working Papers 03/50, International Monetary Fund.
    18. Morris Goldstein & Nicholas R. Lardy, 2005. "China's Role in the Revived Bretton Woods System: A Case of Mistaken Identity," Working Paper Series WP05-2, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    19. Gunter, Frank R., 2004. "Capital flight from China: 1984-2001," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 63-85, January.
    20. Ashoka Mody & Antu Panini Murshid, 2002. "Growing Up with Capital Flows," IMF Working Papers 02/75, International Monetary Fund.
    21. Wei, Shang-Jin, 2001. "Domestic Crony Capitalism and International Fickle Capital: Is There a Connection?," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(1), pages 15-45, Spring.
    22. Eswar Prasad, 2004. "China's Growth and Integration into the World Economy; Prospects and Challenges," IMF Occasional Papers 232, International Monetary Fund.
    23. Fukuda, Shin-ichi & Hoshi, Takeo & Ito, Takatoshi & Rose, Andrew, 2006. "International Finance," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 455-458, December.
    24. Morris Goldstein, 2004. "Adjusting China's Exchange Rate Policies," Working Paper Series WP04-1, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
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