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Are Capital Controls Prudential? An Empirical Investigation

  • Andrés Fernández
  • Alessandro Rebucci
  • Martín Uribe

A growing recent theoretical literature advocates the use of prudential capital control policy, that is, the tightening of restrictions on cross-border capital flows during booms and the relaxation thereof during recessions. We examine the behavior of capital controls in a large number of countries over the period 1995-2011. We find that capital controls are remarkably acyclical. Boom-bust episodes in output, the current account, or the real exchange rate are associated with virtually no movements in capital controls. These results are robust to decomposing boom-bust episodes along a number of dimensions, including the level of development, the level of external indebtedness, or the exchange-rate regime. We also document a near complete acyclicality of capital controls during the Great Contraction of 2007-2009.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19671.

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Date of creation: Nov 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19671
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  1. Mody, Ashoka & Murshid, Antu Panini, 2005. "Growing up with capital flows," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 249-266, January.
  2. Joshua Aizenman & Gurnain Kaur Pasricha, 2013. "Why do emerging markets liberalize capital outflow controls? Fiscal versus net capital flow concerns," NBER Working Papers 18879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bianchi, Javier, 2009. "Overborrowing and Systemic Externalities in the Business Cycle," MPRA Paper 15114, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Forbes, Kristin & Fratzscher, Marcel & Straub, Roland, 2014. "Capital Controls and Macroprudential Measures: What Are They Good For?," CEPR Discussion Papers 9798, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Benigno, Gianluca & Chen, Huigang & Otrok, Christopher & Rebucci, Alessandro & Young, Eric R, 2010. "Revisiting Overborrowing and its Policy Implications," CEPR Discussion Papers 7872, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. 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.
  7. Benigno, Gianluca & Chen, Huigang & Otrok, Christopher & Rebucci, Alessandro & Young, Eric R, 2011. "Financial Crisis and Macro-Prudential Policies," CEPR Discussion Papers 8175, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Nicolas Magud & Carmen Reinhart & Kenneth Rogoff, 2005. "Capital Controls: Myth and Reality A Portfolio Balance Approach to Capital Controls," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2006-10, University of Oregon Economics Department.
  9. Benigno, Gianluca & Chen, Huigang & Otrok, Christopher & Rebucci, Alessandro & Young, Eric R, 2012. "Optimal Policy for Macro-Financial Stability," CEPR Discussion Papers 9223, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Enrique Mendoza & Javier Bianchi, 2010. "Overborrowing, financial crises and ‘macro-prudential’ taxes," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Oct.
  11. Emmanuel Farhi & Ivan Werning, 2012. "Dealing with the Trilemma: Optimal Capital Controls with Fixed Exchange Rates," NBER Working Papers 18199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Luis Felipe Céspedes & Roberto Chang & Diego Saravia, 2011. "Monetary Policy under Financial Turbulence: An Overview," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Luis Felipe Céspedes & Roberto Chang & Diego Saravia (ed.), Monetary Policy under Financial Turbulence, edition 1, volume 16, chapter 1, pages 001-021 Central Bank of Chile.
  13. Guido Lorenzoni, 2007. "Inefficient Credit Booms," NBER Working Papers 13639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Martín Uribe, 2006. "Individual Versus Aggregate Collateral Constraints and the Overborrowing Syndrome," NBER Working Papers 12260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Martin Schindler, 2009. "Measuring Financial Integration: A New Data Set," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 56(1), pages 222-238, April.
  16. Jonathan David Ostry & Atish R. Ghosh & Karl Friedrich Habermeier & Marcos Chamon & Mahvash Saeed Qureshi & Dennis B. S. Reinhardt, 2010. "Capital Inflows: The Role of Controls," IMF Staff Position Notes 2010/04, International Monetary Fund.
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