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Identifying the role of moral hazard in international financial markets

  • Steven B. Kamin
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    Considerable attention has been paid to the possibility that large-scale IMF-led financing packages may have distorted incentives in international financial markets, leading private investors to provide more credit to emerging market countries, and at lower interest rates, than might otherwise have been the case. Yet, prior attempts to identify such distortions have yielded mixed evidence, at best. This paper makes three contributions to our ability to assess the empirical importance of moral hazard in international financial markets. First, it is argued that because large international "bailouts" did not commence until the 1995 Mexican crisis, financial indicators prior to that time could not have reflected a significant degree of this type of moral hazard. Therefore, one test for the existence of moral hazard is that the access of emerging markets to international credit is significantly easier than it was prior to 1995. Second, the paper argues that because private investors expect large-scale IMF-led packages to be extended primarily to economically or geo-politically important countries, moral hazard, if it exists, should lead these countries to have easier terms of access to credit than smaller, non-systemically important countries. Finally, in addition to looking at bond spreads, the focus of earlier empirical analyses of moral hazard, the paper also examines trends in capital flows to gauge the access of emerging market countries to external finance. Looking at the evidence in light of these considerations, the paper concludes that there is little support for the view that moral hazard is significantly distorting international capital markets at the present time.

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    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 736.

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    Date of creation: 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:736
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    1. Eichengreen, Barry & Mody, Ashoka, 1998. "Interest Rates in the North and Capital Flows to the South: Is There a Missing Link?," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 35-57, October.
    2. Fernandez-Arias, Eduardo & DEC, 1994. "The new wave of private capital inflows : push or pull?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1312, The World Bank.
    3. Guillermo A. Calvo & Leonardo Leiderman & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1993. "Capital Inflows and Real Exchange Rate Appreciation in Latin America: The Role of External Factors," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 40(1), pages 108-151, March.
    4. Giovanni Dell'Ariccia & Jeromin Zettelmeyer & Isabel Schnabel, 2002. "Moral Hazard and International Crisis Lending: A Test," IMF Working Papers 02/181, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Olivier Jeanne & Jeromin Zettelmeyer, 2001. "International Bailouts, Moral Hazard, and Conditionality," CESifo Working Paper Series 563, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Steven Phillips & Timothy D. Lane, 2000. "Does IMF Financing Result in Moral Hazard?," IMF Working Papers 00/168, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Reinhart, Carmen & Montiel, Peter, 1999. "Do capital controls influence the volume and composition of capital flows? Evidence from the 1990s," MPRA Paper 13710, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Andy Haldane & Mark Kruger, 2001. "The Resolution of International Financial Crises: Private Finance and Public Funds," Working Papers 01-20, Bank of Canada.
    9. Barry Eichengreen & Ashoka Mody, 1998. "What Explains Changing Spreads on Emerging-Market Debt: Fundamentals or Market Sentiment?," NBER Working Papers 6408, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Richard Cantor & Frank Packer, 1996. "Determinants and impacts of sovereign credit ratings," Research Paper 9608, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    11. Hong G. Min, 1998. "Determinants of emerging market bond spread : do economic fundamentals matter?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1899, The World Bank.
    12. Chuhan, Punam & Claessens, Stijn & Mamingi, Nlandu, 1998. "Equity and bond flows to Latin America and Asia: the role of global and country factors," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 439-463, April.
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