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Financial Factors in Economic Development

  • Rudiger Dornbusch
  • Alejandro Reynoso

Financial factors have been assigned strategic importance in economic development. But very different factors have been isolated in the respective experiences: in Asia unrepressed financial markets in mobilizing saving and allocating investment have been given prominence. In Latin America the central question is the role of inflationary finance, the scope for deficits to enhance growth and, increasingly, the feedback from high and unstable inflation to poor economic performance. This paper reviews and contrasts the two approaches and concludes that the strong claims for the benefits of financial liberalization are not supported by evidence. Financial factors are important, but probably only when financial instability becomes a dominant force. The scope for inflationary finance is small and the risks are larger than commonly accepted. When hyperinflation takes over and foreign exchange crises disrupt the price system, and shorten the economic horizon to a week or a month, normal economic development is suspended. Moreover, difficult to reverse capital flight puts savings outside the home economy. Attention should focus on these extreme cases and explore deeper the thresholds at which financial factors become dominant and the channels through which this occurs. Superior growth performance, in this perspective, may be more a reflection of adaptability than financial deepening.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w2889.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2889.

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Date of creation: Mar 1989
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Publication status: published as American Economic Review, vol. 79, no.2, May 1989, pp. 204-209.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2889
Note: EFG ITI IFM
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  1. Ritu Anand & Sweder van Wijnbergen, 1988. "Inflation, External Debt and Financial Sector Reform: A Quantitative Approach To Consistent Fiscal Policy With An Application to Turkey," NBER Working Papers 2731, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Giovannini, Alberto, 1985. "Saving and the real interest rate in LDCs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2-3), pages 197-217, August.
  3. Kemal Dervis & Peter A. Petri, 1987. "The Macroeconomics of Successful Development: What Are The Lessons?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 211-262 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Krueger, Anne O, 1974. "The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 291-303, June.
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