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Bad Investments and Missed Opportunities? Capital Flows to Asia and Latin America, 1950-2007

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Abstract

After World War II, international capital flowed into slow-growing Latin America rather than fast-growing Asia. This is surprising as, everything else equal, fast growth should imply high capital returns. This paper develops a capital flow accounting framework to quantify the role of different factor market distortions in producing these patterns. Surprisingly, we find that distortions in labor markets ? rather than domestic or international capital markets ? account for the bulk of these flows. Labor market distortions that indirectly depress investment incentives by lowering equilibrium labor supply explain two-thirds of observed flows, while their removal accounts for much of Asia?s growth.

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  • Lee E. Ohanian & Paulina Restrepo-Echavarria & Mark L. J. Wright, 2013. "Bad Investments and Missed Opportunities? Capital Flows to Asia and Latin America, 1950-2007," Working Papers 2014-38, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2014-038
    DOI: 10.20955/wp.2014.038
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    2. Alexander Monge-Naranjo & Juan M. Sanchez & Raul Santaeulalia-Llopis & Faisal Sohail, 2019. "Should Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 101(4), pages 277-295.
    3. Ly-Dai, Hung, 2016. "Non-Linear Pattern of International Capital Flows," MPRA Paper 90236, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 08 Oct 2018.
    4. Joseph Steinberg, 2019. "On the Source of U.S. Trade Deficits: Global Saving Glut or Domestic Saving Drought?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 31, pages 200-223, January.
    5. Alexander Monge-Naranjo & Juan M. Sánchez & Raül Santaeulàlia-Llopis, 2019. "Natural Resources and Global Misallocation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 79-126, April.
    6. Alexander Monge-Naranjo & Juan M. Sánchez & Raül Santaeulàlia-Llopis, 2018. "On the Global Misallocation of Human Capital," Working Papers 1037, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    7. Brinca, Pedro & Costa-Filho, João & Loria, Francesca, 2020. "Business Cycle Accounting: what have we learned so far?," MPRA Paper 100180, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Capital Flows; Labor Markets; Domestic Capital Markets; International Capital Markets;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • F44 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Business Cycles

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