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Are Capital Controls Prudential? An Empirical Investigation

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  • Andrés Fernández
  • Alessandro Rebucci
  • Martín Uribe

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrés Fernández & Alessandro Rebucci & Martín Uribe, 2013. "Are Capital Controls Prudential? An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 19671, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19671
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    1. Javier Bianchi, 2011. "Overborrowing and Systemic Externalities in the Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3400-3426, December.
    2. Chinn, Menzie D. & Ito, Hiro, 2006. "What matters for financial development? Capital controls, institutions, and interactions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 163-192, October.
    3. Aizenman, Joshua & Pasricha, Gurnain Kaur, 2013. "Why do emerging markets liberalize capital outflow controls? Fiscal versus net capital flow concerns," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 28-64.
    4. Nicolas E. Magud & Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2018. "Capital Controls: Myth and Reality--A Portfolio Balance Approach," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 19(1), pages 1-47, May.
    5. Ethan Ilzetzki & Carmen M Reinhart & Kenneth S Rogoff, 2019. "Exchange Arrangements Entering the Twenty-First Century: Which Anchor will Hold?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 134(2), pages 599-646.
    6. Christopher Otrok & Gianluca Benigno & Huigang Chen & Alessandro Rebucci & Eric R. Young, 2012. "Capital Controls or Exchange Rate Policy? A Pecuniary Externality Perspective," Working Papers 1209, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
    7. Javier Bianchi & Enrique G. Mendoza, 2010. "Overborrowing, financial crises and ‘macro-prudential’ taxes," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Oct.
    8. Martín Uribe, 2006. "Individual Versus Aggregate Collateral Constraints and the Overborrowing Syndrome," NBER Working Papers 12260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Jonathan David Ostry & Atish R. Ghosh & Karl F Habermeier & Marcos d Chamon & Mahvash S Qureshi & Dennis B. S. Reinhardt, 2010. "Capital Inflows; The Role of Controls," IMF Staff Position Notes 2010/04, International Monetary Fund.
    10. 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.
    11. Benigno, Gianluca & Chen, Huigang & Otrok, Christopher & Rebucci, Alessandro & Young, Eric R., 2013. "Financial crises and macro-prudential policies," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 453-470.
    12. 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.
    13. Guido Lorenzoni, 2008. "Inefficient Credit Booms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 809-833.
    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. 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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    17. 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.
    18. Fernández, Andrés & Rebucci, Alessandro & Uribe, Martín, 2015. "Are capital controls countercyclical?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 1-14.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicolas E. Magud & Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2018. "Capital Controls: Myth and Reality--A Portfolio Balance Approach," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 19(1), pages 1-47, May.
    2. Benigno, Gianluca & Chen, Huigang & Otrok, Christopher & Rebucci, Alessandro & Young, Eric R., 2016. "Optimal capital controls and real exchange rate policies: A pecuniary externality perspective," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 147-165.
    3. Li, Jie & Rajan, Ramkishen S., 2015. "Do capital controls make gross equity flows to emerging markets less volatile?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 220-244.
    4. G. Bush, 2019. "Financial Development and the Effects of Capital Controls," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 559-592, July.
    5. Scott Davis & Ignacio Presno, 2014. "Capital controls as an instrument of monetary policy," Globalization Institute Working Papers 171, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, revised 01 Feb 2014.
    6. Alfaro, Laura & Chari, Anusha & Kanczuk, Fabio, 2017. "The real effects of capital controls: Firm-level evidence from a policy experiment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 191-210.
    7. Giordani, Paolo E. & Ruta, Michele & Weisfeld, Hans & Zhu, Ling, 2017. "Capital flow deflection," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 102-118.
    8. Pasricha, Gurnain Kaur & Falagiarda, Matteo & Bijsterbosch, Martin & Aizenman, Joshua, 2018. "Domestic and multilateral effects of capital controls in emerging markets," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 48-58.
    9. Stephanie Guichard, 2017. "10 Years after the Global Financial Crisis: What Have We Learnt About International Capital Flows?," Journal of International Commerce, Economics and Policy (JICEP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 8(03), pages 1-30, October.
    10. Carlos Cantú, 2017. "Effects of capital controls on foreign exchange liquidity," BIS Working Papers 659, Bank for International Settlements.
    11. Adler, Gustavo & Lisack, Noëmie & Mano, Rui C., 2019. "Unveiling the effects of foreign exchange intervention: A panel approach," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 1-1.
    12. Eichengreen, Barry & Rose, Andrew, 2014. "Capital Controls in the 21st Century," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 48(PA), pages 1-16.
    13. Samitas, Aristeidis & Polyzos, Stathis, 2016. "Freeing Greece from capital controls: Were the restrictions enforced in time?," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 196-213.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • F4 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
    • F5 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy
    • G0 - Financial Economics - - General
    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets

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