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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
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19671
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  1. Gianluca Benigno & Huigang Chen & Chris Otrok & Alessandro Rebucci & Eric Young, 2012. "Optimal Policy for Macro-Financial Stability," CEP Discussion Papers dp1172, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Gianluca Benigno & Huigang Chen & Christopher Otrok & Alessandro Rebucci & Eric R. Young, 2011. "Revisiting Overborrowing and its Policy Implications," 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 6, pages 145-184 Central Bank of Chile.
  3. 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.
  4. Nicolas E. Magud & Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "Capital Controls: Myth and Reality - A Portfolio Balance Approach," NBER Working Papers 16805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Chinn,M.D. & Ito,H., 2005. "What matters for financial development? : capital controls, institutions, and interactions," Working papers 4, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  6. Kristin Forbes & Marcel Fratzscher & Roland Straub, 2013. "Capital Controls and Macroprudential Measures: What Are They Good For?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1343, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  7. Bianchi, Javier, 2009. "Overborrowing and Systemic Externalities in the Business Cycle," MPRA Paper 15114, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Gianluca Benigno & Huigang Chen & Christopher Otrok & Alessandro Rebucci & Eric R. Young, 2011. "Financial Crises and Macro-Prudential Policies," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 27738, Inter-American Development Bank.
  9. 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.
  10. Enrique Mendoza & Javier Bianchi, 2010. "Overborrowing, financial crises and ‘macro-prudential’ taxes," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Oct.
  11. Guido Lorenzoni, 2007. "Inefficient Credit Booms," NBER Working Papers 13639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
  13. Mody, Ashoka & Murshid, Antu Panini, 2005. "Growing up with capital flows," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 249-266, January.
  14. 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.
  15. Martín Uribe, 2006. "Individual Versus Aggregate Collateral Constraints and the Overborrowing Syndrome," NBER Working Papers 12260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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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