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Collateral Damage: Exchange Controls and International Trade

  • Shang-Jin Wei
  • Zhiwei Zhang

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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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13020.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13020.

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Date of creation: Apr 2007
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Publication status: published as Wei, Shang-Jin & Zhang, Zhiwei, 2007. "Collateral damage: Exchange controls and international trade," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 841-863, September.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13020
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  1. Andrew K. Rose, 2002. "Do We Really Know that the WTO Increases Trade?," NBER Working Papers 9273, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2001. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 8079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1997. "Regional Trading Blocs in the World Economic System," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 72.
  4. Kose, Ayhan & Prasad, Eswar & Rogoff, Kenneth & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2006. "Financial Globalization: A Reappraisal," CEPR Discussion Papers 5842, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. 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.
  6. Subramanian, Arvind & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2005. "The WTO Promotes Trade, Strongly But Unevenly," CEPR Discussion Papers 5122, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. 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.
  8. Natalia T. Tamirisa & Simon Johnson & Kalpana Kochhar & Todd Mitton, 2006. "Malaysian Capital Controls; Macroeconomics and Institutions," IMF Working Papers 06/51, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2006. "Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_022, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  10. Kristin J. Forbes, 2003. "One Cost of the Chilean Capital Controls: Increased Financial Constraints for Smalles Traded Firms," NBER Working Papers 9777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Takatoshi Ito, 1999. "Capital Flows in Asia," Discussion Paper Series a371, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    • 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.
  12. Joshua Aizenman, 2003. "On the Hidden Links Between Financial and Trade Opening," NBER Working Papers 9906, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Natalia T. Tamirisa, 1998. "Exchange and Capital Controls As Barriers to Trade," IMF Working Papers 98/81, International Monetary Fund.
  14. 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, October.
  15. M. 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.
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