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Capital Controls in Brazil – Stemming a Tide with a Signal

  • Yothin Jinjarak

    (SOAS, University of London)

  • Ilan Noy

    ()

    (University of Hawaii and Victoria Business School in Wellington)

  • Huanhuan Zheng

    ()

    (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

Controls on capital inflows have been experiencing a period akin to a renaissance since the beginning of the global financial crisis in 2008, with several prominent countries choosing to impose controls; e.g., Thailand, Korea, Peru, Indonesia, and Brazil. We focus on the case of Brazil, a country that instituted five changes in its capital account regime in 2008-2011, and ask what the impacts of these policy changes were. Using the Abadie et al. (2010) synthetic control methodology, we construct counterfactuals (i.e., Brazil with no capital account policy change) for each policy change event. We find no evidence that any tightening of controls was effective in reducing the magnitudes of capital inflows, but we observe some modest and short-lived success in preventing further declines in inflows when the capital controls are relaxed as was done in the immediate aftermath of the Lehman bankruptcy in 2008 and in January 2011 by the newly inaugurated government of Dilma Rousseff. We hypothesize that price-based capital controls’ only perceptible effect are to be found in the content of the signal they broadcast regarding the government’s larger intentions and sensibilities. Brazil’s left-of-center government was widely perceived as ambivalent to markets. An imposition of controls was not perceived as ‘news’ and thus had no impact. A willingness to remove controls was perceived, however, as a noteworthy indication that the government was not as hostile to the international financial markets as many expected it to be.

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File URL: http://www.economics.hawaii.edu/research/workingpapers/WP_12-13.pdf
File Function: First version, 2012
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Paper provided by University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 201213.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 17 Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:201213
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  1. Joseph P Joyce & Ilan Noy, 2005. "The IMF and the Liberalization of Capital Flows," Economics Study Area Working Papers 84, East-West Center, Economics Study Area.
  2. Michael W. Klein, 2012. "Capital Controls: Gates versus Walls," NBER Working Papers 18526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Sebastian Edwards, 2012. "The Federal Reserve, the Emerging Markets, and Capital Controls: A High‐Frequency Empirical Investigation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44, pages 151-184, December.
  4. Paolo Pinotti, 2012. "The economic costs of organized crime: evidence from southern Italy," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 868, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
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  8. Nicolas E. Magud E. & Carmen M. & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "Capital Controls: Myth and Reality--A Portfolio Balance Approach," Working Paper Series WP11-7, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
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  10. Chinn, Menzie David & Ito, Hiro, 2005. "What Matters for Financial Development? Capital Controls, Institutions, and Interactions," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt5pv1j341, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  11. Straetmans, Stefan T.M. & Versteeg, Roald J. & Wolff, Christian C.P., 2013. "Are capital controls in the foreign exchange market effective?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 36-53.
  12. Peter Hinrichs, 2012. "The Effects of Affirmative Action Bans on College Enrollment, Educational Attainment, and the Demographic Composition of Universities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 712-722, August.
  13. Ilan Goldfajn & André Minella, 2005. "Capital Flows and Controls in Brazil: What Have We Learned?," NBER Working Papers 11640, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Abadie, Alberto & Diamond, Alexis & Hainmueller, Jens, 2010. "Synthetic Control Methods for Comparative Case Studies: Estimating the Effect of California’s Tobacco Control Program," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 105(490), pages 493-505.
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  17. Martin Schindler, 2009. "Measuring Financial Integration: A New Data Set," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 56(1), pages 222-238, April.
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  19. 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.
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  22. Ostry, Jonathan D. & Ghosh, Atish R. & Chamon, Marcos & Qureshi, Mahvash S., 2012. "Tools for managing financial-stability risks from capital inflows," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 407-421.
  23. Leonor Keller & Ibrahim Chowdhury, 2012. "Managing Large-Scale Capital Inflows; The Case of the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania," IMF Working Papers 12/138, International Monetary Fund.
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  25. Sebastian Edwards, 2012. "The Federal Reserve, Emerging Markets, and Capital Controls: A High Frequency Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 18557, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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