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Foreign Capital and Economic Growth

  • Prasad, Eswar

    ()

    (Cornell University)

  • Rajan, Raghuram G.

    ()

    (University of Chicago)

  • Subramanian, Arvind

    ()

    (Peterson Institute for International Economics)

We document the recent phenomenon of “uphill” flows of capital from nonindustrial to industrial countries and analyze whether this pattern of capital flows has hurt growth in nonindustrial economies that export capital. Surprisingly, we find that there is a positive correlation between current account balances and growth among nonindustrial countries, implying that a reduced reliance on foreign capital is associated with higher growth. This result is weaker when we use panel data rather than cross-sectional averages over long periods of time, but in no case do we find any evidence that an increase in foreign capital inflows directly boosts growth. What explains these results, which are contrary to the predictions of conventional theoretical models? We provide some evidence that even successful developing countries have limited absorptive capacity for foreign resources, either because their financial markets are underdeveloped, or because their economies are prone to overvaluation caused by rapid capital inflows.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3186.

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Length: 65 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, 2007 (1), 153-230
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3186
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  1. Kraay, Aart & Ventura, Jaume, 1997. "Current accounts in debtor and creditor countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1825, The World Bank.
  2. Alfaro, Laura & Hammel, Eliza, 2007. "Capital flows and capital goods," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 128-150, May.
  3. Reuven Glick & Xueyan Guo & Michael Hutchison, 2004. "Currency Crises, Capital Account Liberalization, and Selection Bias," EPRU Working Paper Series 04-11, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
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  13. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Why Doesn't Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 92-96, May.
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  15. Daniel Artana & Emilio Osambela Zavala & Desmond Thomas & Roberto Zahler & Andrew S. Downes & Ricardo D. Paredes Molina & Martin Naranjos Lander & Ashu Handa, 2004. "Revitalizing the Jamaican Economy: Policies for Sustained Growth," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 21858, October.
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