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Capital Flows, Real Exchange Rates, and Capital Controls: Some Latin American Experiences

  • Sebastian Edwards

This paper deals with some of the most important aspects of Latin America's experience with capital flows during the last twenty-five years. The paper begins with a historical analysis. I then deal with the sequencing of reform and discuss issues related to the relationship between capital flows, real exchange rates, and international competitiveness. I next concentrate on the role of capital controls as a device for isolating emerging economies from the volatility of international capital markets. I begin by reviewing the policy issues and the current debate on the subject. I then present an empirical analysis of Chile's recent experiences with capital controls and make some comparisons to the recent experiences of Columbia. The analysis of the Chilean experience is particularly important since its practice of imposing reserves requirements on capital inflows has been praised by a number of analysts, including senior staff of the multilateral institutions, as an effective and efficient way of reducing the vulnerability associated with capital flows volatility. The results obtained suggest that capital controls in Chile have had mixed results: while they have allowed the Central Bank to have a greater degree of control over short term interest rates, they have failed in avoiding real exchange rate appreciation. The paper ends with some reflections, based on recent Latin American historical episodes, on the role of banks in intermediating capital inflows and on financial crises.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6800.

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Date of creation: Nov 1998
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Capital Flows, Real Exchange Rates, and Capital Controls: Some Latin American Experiences , Sebastian Edwards. in Capital Flows and the Emerging Economies: Theory, Evidence, and Controversies , Edwards. 2000
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6800
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  1. Michael P. Dooley, 1998. "A model of crises in emerging markets," International Finance Discussion Papers 630, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Guillermo A. Calvo, 1991. "The Perils of Sterilization," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 38(4), pages 921-926, December.
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  6. Calvo, Sara & Reinhart, Carmen, 1996. "Capital flows to Latin America : Is there evidence of contagion effects?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1619, The World Bank.
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  10. Rudger Dornbusch & Ilan Goldfajn & Rodrigo O. Valdés, 1995. "Currency Crises and Collapses," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 219-294.
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  13. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo & Leiderman, Leonardo, 1993. "Af1uencia de capital y apreciacion del tipo de cambio real en America Latina: E1 papel de los factores externos
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  14. McKinnon, Ronald I., 1982. "The order of economic liberalization: Lessons from Chile and Argentina," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 159-186, January.
  15. Rudiger Dornbusch & Thomas S. Johnson & Anne O. Krueger, 1988. "Our LDC Debts," NBER Chapters, in: The United States in the World Economy, pages 161-214 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Rudiger Dornbusch & Alejandro Werner, 1994. "Mexico: Stabilization, Reform, and No Growth," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 253-316.
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