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The illusive quest: do international capital controls contribute to currency stability?

  • Reuven Glick
  • Michael Hutchison

We investigate the effectiveness of capital controls in insulating economies from currency crises, focusing in particular on both direct and indirect effects of capital controls and how these relationships may have changed over time in response to global financial liberalization and the greater mobility of international capital. We predict the likelihood of currency crises using standard macroeconomic variables and a probit equation estimation methodology with random effects. We employ a comprehensive panel data set comprised of 69 emerging market and developing economies over 1975–2004. Both standard and duration-adjusted measures of capital control intensity (allowing controls to "depreciate" over time) suggest that capital controls have not effectively insulated economies from currency crises at any time during our sample period. Maintaining real GDP growth and limiting real overvaluation are critical factors preventing currency crises, not capital controls. However, the presence of capital controls greatly increases the sensitivity of currency crises to changes in real GDP growth and real exchange rate overvaluation, making countries more vulnerable to changes in fundamentals. Our model suggests that emerging markets weathered the 2007-08 crisis relatively well because of strong output growth and exchange rate flexibility that limited overvaluation of their currencies.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2010-15.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2010-15
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  1. Reinhart, Carmen & Kaminsky, Graciela & Lizondo, Saul, 1998. "Leading Indicators of Currency Crises," MPRA Paper 6981, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Sebastian Edwards, 2007. "Capital Controls, Capital Flow Contractions, and Macroeconomic Vulnerability," NBER Working Papers 12852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Glick, Reuven & Guo, Xueyan & Hutchison, Michael M., 2004. "Currency Crises, Capital Account Liberalization, and Selection Bias," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt24c9v7w9, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
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  18. James Tobin, 1978. "A Proposal for International Monetary Reform," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 506, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Jonathan David Ostry & Atish R. Ghosh & Karl Friedrich Habermeier & Marcos Chamon & Mahvash Saeed Qureshi & Dennis B. S. Reinhardt, 2010. "Capital Inflows; The Role of Controls," IMF Staff Position Notes 2010/04, International Monetary Fund.
  23. Sebastian Edwards, 1999. "Crisis Prevention: Lessons from Mexico and East Asia," NBER Working Papers 7233, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Barry J. Eichengreen, 1999. "Toward a New International Financial Architecture: A Practical Post-Asia Agenda," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 51.
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