Capital account liberalization and disinflation in the 1990s
As a way of addressing arguments in the literature (Rodrik, 1998) that the act of capital account liberalization leads to inflation, we present a simple theoretical model in which capital account liberalization raises the absolute value of the elasticity of money demand because agents have broader money holding options than under a closed capital account. The central bank maximizes seigniorage, balancing the benefits of higher inflation against potential losses of foreign currency reserves. The optimum seigniorage-maximizing rate of inflation falls when capital controls are loosened, as a result of the impact of liberalization on the elasticity of money demand. In a series of OLS and instrumental variables models that are heavily influenced by the work of Romer (1993) on current account openness and Grilli and Milesi-Ferretti (1995) on capital account openness, we test the impact of the act capital account liberalization (and many other factors) on inflation and find results that are consistent with our simple theoretical model and that are inconsistent with the recent work of Rodrik (1998). ; Economic Research Working Paper 0104
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