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Bad Investments and Missed Opportunities? Postwar Capital Flows to Asia and Latin America

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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 improvement in these distortions over time accounts for much of Asia?s rapid growth.

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  • Lee E. Ohanian & Paulina Restrepo-Echavarria & Mark L. J. Wright, 2018. "Bad Investments and Missed Opportunities? Postwar Capital Flows to Asia and Latin America," Staff Report 563, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:563
    DOI: 10.21034/sr.563
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    3. Michael Sposi, 2017. "Demographics and the Evolution of Global Imbalances," Globalization Institute Working Papers 332, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    4. Coeurdacier, Nicolas & Rey, Hélène & Winant, Pablo, 2020. "Financial integration and growth in a risky world," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 1-21.
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    7. Restrepo-Echavarria, Paulina, 2019. "Endogenous borrowing constraints and stagnation in Latin America," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 109(C).
    8. Zhen Huo & Andrei A. Levchenko & Nitya Pandalai-Nayar, 2019. "International Comovement in the Global Production Network," NBER Working Papers 25978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. 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.
    10. Tamon Asonuma & Hyungseok Joo, 2021. "Public Capital and Fiscal Constraint in Sovereign Debt Crises," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0621, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Domestic capital markets; Capital flows; International capital markets; Labor markets;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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