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Collateral Damage; Exchange Controls and International Trade

  • Zhiwei Zhang
  • Shang-Jin Wei

While new conventional wisdom warns that developing countries should be aware of the risks of premature capital account liberalization, the costs of not removing exchange controls have received much less attention. This paper investigates the negative effects of exchange controls on trade. To minimize evasion of controls, countries often intensify inspections at the border and increase documentation requirements. Thus, the cost of conducting trade rises. The paper finds that a one standard-deviation increase in the controls on trade payment has the same negative effect on trade as an increase in tariff by about 14 percentage points. A one standard-deviation increase in the controls on FX transactions reduces trade by the same amount as a rise in tariff by 11 percentage points. Therefore, the collateral damage in terms of foregone trade is sizable.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 07/8.

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Length: 27
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:07/8
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  1. Shang-Jin Wei & Arvind Subramanian, 2003. "The WTO Promotes Trade, Strongly But Unevenly," IMF Working Papers 03/185, International Monetary Fund.
  2. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
  3. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Shang-Jin Wei, 1994. "Yen Bloc or Dollar Bloc? Exchange Rate Policies of the East Asian Economies," NBER Chapters, in: Macroeconomic Linkage: Savings, Exchange Rates, and Capital Flows, NBER-EASE Volume 3, pages 295-333 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Aizenman, Joshua, 2008. "On the hidden links between financial and trade opening," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 372-386, April.
  5. Andrew K. Rose, 2002. "Do We Really Know that the WTO Increases Trade?," NBER Working Papers 9273, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Simon Johnson & Kalpana Kochhar & Todd Mitton & Natalia Tamirisa, 2007. "Malaysian Capital Controls: Macroeconomics and Institutions," NBER Chapters, in: Capital Controls and Capital Flows in Emerging Economies: Policies, Practices and Consequences, pages 529-574 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Takatoshi Ito & Anne O. Krueger, 1994. "Macroeconomic Linkage: Savings, Exchange Rates, and Capital Flows, NBER-EASE Volume 3," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ito_94-1.
  8. Takatoshi Ito, 2000. "Capital Flows in Asia," NBER Chapters, in: Capital Flows and the Emerging Economies: Theory, Evidence, and Controversies, pages 255-296 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1997. "Regional Trading Blocs in the World Economic System," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 72.
  10. 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.
  11. Natalia T. Tamirisa, 1999. "Exchange and Capital Controls as Barriers to Trade," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 46(1), pages 4.
  12. M. Ayhan Kose & Eswar Prasad & Kenneth Rogoff & Shang-Jin Wei, 2009. "Financial Globalization: A Reappraisal," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 56(2), pages 143-197, June.
  13. Forbes, Kristin J., 2003. "One Cost of the Chilean Capital Controls: Increased Financial Constraints for Smaller Traded Firms," Working papers 4273-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  14. Shang-Jin Wei, 1996. "Intra-National versus International Trade: How Stubborn are Nations in Global Integration?," NBER Working Papers 5531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2006. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_022, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
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