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How Effective are Capital Controls?

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  • Sebastian Edwards

Abstract

In the aftermath of the East Asian crisis a number of authors have argued that capital mobility is highly destabilizing, and that emerging countries would benefit from restricting capital flows. In this paper I investigate, from a historical perspective, the effectiveness of capital controls. I deal with Tobin taxes, controls on outflows and controls on inflows. I argue that controls on outflows have seldom worked as expected. They introduce major distortions and breed corruption. Market-based controls on inflows - similar to those implemented by Chile - have the potential for lengthening the maturity of foreign debt. They are not very effective, however, in achieving other objectives, including a higher degree of monetary policy independence.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian Edwards, 1999. "How Effective are Capital Controls?," NBER Working Papers 7413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7413
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rudiger Dornbusch & Sebastian Edwards, 1989. "Macroeconomic Populism in Latin America," NBER Working Papers 2986, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Rudiger Dornbusch & Sebastian Edwards, 1991. "The Macroeconomics of Populism in Latin America," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number dorn91-1, November.
    3. Edwards, Sebastian & Edwards, Alejandra Cox, 1991. "Monetarism and Liberalization," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226184890, Febrero.
    4. Fischer, S. & Cooper, R.N. & Dornbusch, R. & Garber, P.M. & Massad, C. & Polak, J.J. & Rodrik, D. & Tarapore, S.S., 1998. "Should the IMF Pursue Capital-Account Convertibility?," Princeton Essays in International Economics 207, International Economics Section, Departement of Economics Princeton University,.
    5. Carmen M. Reinhart & Graciela L. Kaminsky, 1999. "The Twin Crises: The Causes of Banking and Balance-of-Payments Problems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 473-500, June.
    6. James Tobin, 1978. "A Proposal for International Monetary Reform," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 4(3-4), pages 153-159, Jul/Oct.
    7. Montiel, Peter J, 1994. "Capital Mobility in Developing Countries: Some Measurement Issues and Empirical Estimates," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 8(3), pages 311-350, September.
    8. Carmen M. Reinhart & Graciela L. Kaminsky, 1999. "The Twin Crises: The Causes of Banking and Balance-of-Payments Problems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 473-500, June.
    9. Sebastian Edwards, 1998. "Interest Rate Volatily, Contagion and Convergence: And Empirical Investigation of the Cases of Argentina, Chile and México," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 1, pages 55-86, November.
    10. Sebastian Edwards, 2000. "Capital Flows, Real Exchange Rates, and Capital Controls: Some Latin American Experiences," NBER Chapters, in: Capital Flows and the Emerging Economies: Theory, Evidence, and Controversies, pages 197-246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Montiel, Peter & Reinhart, Carmen M., 1999. "Do capital controls and macroeconomic policies influence the volume and composition of capital flows? Evidence from the 1990s," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 619-635, August.
    12. Feldstein, Martin & Horioka, Charles, 1980. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Flows," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 314-329, June.
    13. Kenneth Rogoff, 1999. "International Institutions for Reducing Global Financial Instability," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 21-42, Fall.
    14. Mr. Donald J Mathieson & Ms. Liliana Rojas-Suárez & Mr. Michael P. Dooley, 1996. "Capital Mobility and Exchange Market Intervention in Developing Countries," IMF Working Papers 1996/131, International Monetary Fund.
    15. Maurice Obstfeld, 1986. "International Finance," NBER Working Papers 2077, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Sebastian Edwards & Julio Santaella, 1993. "Devaluation Controversies in the Developing Countries: Lessons from the Bretton Woods Era," NBER Chapters, in: A Retrospective on the Bretton Woods System: Lessons for International Monetary Reform, pages 405-460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Alberto Alesina & Vittorio Grilli & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferrett, 1993. "The Political Economy of Capital Controls," NBER Working Papers 4353, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Salvador Valdés-Prieto & Marcelo Soto, 1998. "The Effectiveness of Capital Controls: Theory and Evidence from Chile," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 133-164, January.
    19. Sebastian Edwards, 1999. "Crisis Prevention: Lessons from Mexico and East Asia," NBER Working Papers 7233, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Marcelo Soto & Salvador Valdés, 1996. "¿Es el Control Selectivo de Capitales Efectivo en Chile? Su Efecto sobre el Tipo de Cambio Real," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 33(98), pages 77-108.
    21. Barry Eichengreen & Charles Wyplosz, 1993. "The Unstable EMS," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(1), pages 51-144.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions

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