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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 & Christopher Otrok & Alessandro Rebucci & Eric R. Young, 2012. "Optimal policy for macro-financial stability," Working Papers 2012-041, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  2. 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.
  3. Gianluca Benigno & Huigang Chen & Christopher Otrok & Alessandro Rebucci & Eric R. Young, 2010. "Revisiting Overborrowing and its Policy Implications," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 582, Central Bank of Chile.
  4. Nicolas E. Magud E. & Carmen M. & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "Capital Controls: Myth and Reality--A Portfolio Balance Approach," Working Paper Series WP11-7, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  5. Martín Uribe, 2006. "Individual Versus Aggregate Collateral Constraints and the Overborrowing Syndrome," NBER Working Papers 12260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Luis Felipe Céspedes & Roberto Chang & Diego Saravia, 2010. "Monetary Policy Under Financial Turbulence: an Overview," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 594, Central Bank of Chile.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Guido Lorenzoni, 2008. "Inefficient Credit Booms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 809-833.
  10. Joshua Aizenman & Gurnain Pasricha, 2013. "Why Do Emerging Markets Liberalize Capital Outflow Controls? Fiscal versus Net Capital Flow Concerns," Working Papers 13-21, Bank of Canada.
  11. 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.
  12. Bianchi, Javier, 2009. "Overborrowing and Systemic Externalities in the Business Cycle," MPRA Paper 15114, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Javier Bianchi & Enrique G. Mendoza, 2010. "Overborrowing, Financial Crises and 'Macro-prudential' Taxes," NBER Working Papers 16091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Ashoka Mody & Antu Panini Murshid, 2002. "Growing Up with Capital Flows," IMF Working Papers 02/75, International Monetary Fund.
  15. 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.
  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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