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International Capital Mobility: Which Structural Policies Reduce Financial Fragility?

  • Rudiger Ahrend
  • Antoine Goujard
  • Cyrille Schwellnus

The structure of a country’s external liabilities, as well as the extent and nature of its international financial integration are key determinants of its vulnerability to financial crises. This is confirmed by new empirical analysis covering OECD and emerging economies over the past four decades. For example, a bias in gross external liabilities towards debt has raised crisis risk. The same holds for "currency mismatch" which refers to a situation where a country's foreign-currency denominated liabilities are large compared to its foreign-currency denominated assets. In addition, international banking integration has been a major vector of contagion, and even more so when cross-border bank lending was primarily short-term. Vulnerability to contagion has been lower when global liquidity has been abundant, underlining the importance of major central banks ensuring ample international liquidity at times of financial turmoil. Structural policies can increase financial stability, typically through their effects on the composition of the external financial account or on the vulnerability to contagion-induced financial shocks. Lower barriers on foreign direct investment and lower product market regulations have increased financial stability by shifting external liabilities from debt towards FDI. In contrast, tax systems that favour debt finance over equity finance have undermined stability by increasing the share of debt, including external debt, in corporate financing. Targeted capital controls on inflows from credit operations have reduced the impact of financial contagion, not least by shifting the structure of external liabilities. Stricter information disclosure rules or capital requirements, and strong supervisory authorities have also reduced countries' financial crisis risk. Flux de capitaux internationaux : quelles politiques structurelles réduisent la fragilité financière ? La structure des engagements externes des pays, ainsi que l’ampleur et les différentes formes de leur intégration financière internationale, sont d’importants facteurs de vulnérabilité aux crises financières. Ceci est confirmé par une nouvelle analyse empirique couvrant les pays membres de l’OCDE et les pays émergents pendant les quatre dernières décennies. Par exemple, un biais des engagements externes vers la dette a augmenté les risques de crises. De même, un excès d’engagements libellés en monnaie étrangère par rapport aux créances libellées en monnaie étrangère a accru les risques de crises. En outre, l’intégration bancaire internationale a été un important vecteur de contagion, d’autant plus que la part de la dette bancaire de court-terme était importante. La vulnérabilité des pays à la contagion a aussi été moindre lorsque la liquidité globale était abondante, ce qui souligne l’importance d’une réaction des banques centrales assurant un niveau de liquidité internationale élevée lors des périodes d’instabilité financière. Les politiques structurelles peuvent contribuer à accroître la stabilité financière, tant par leurs effets sur la structure des engagements externes que par leurs effets sur la vulnérabilité aux chocs financiers liés aux épisodes de contagion. De faibles barrières aux investissements directs étrangers ainsi qu’une réglementation des marchés de produits favorable à la compétition ont contribué à la stabilité financière en modifiant les engagements externes des pays vers les IDEs au contraire de la dette. En revanche, les systèmes de taxation qui favorisent le financement par la dette au détriment des investissements de capitaux ont contribué à réduire la stabilité financière en augmentant le financement des entreprises par la dette, y compris la dette externe. Des mesures ciblées de contrôle des flux de crédits ont contribué à réduire les effets de contagion financière, notamment en modifiant la composition des engagements internationaux. Des règles plus strictes quant à la divulgation des résultats financiers et quant aux fonds propres requis, ainsi qu'une plus forte supervision des autorités ont aussi réduit les risques de crises financières.

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Date of creation: 11 Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaab:2-en
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