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The case against capital controls: financial flows, crises, and the flip side of the free-trade argument


  • Hartwell, Christopher A.


Critics of globalization view the free flow of capital as economically destabilizing and advocate capital controls for four main reasons: controls are intended to guard against volatility, prevent financial contagion, enable infant financial industries to develop in domestic markets, and be an effective measure of last resort that gives governments room in which to breathe while they pursue needed reforms. However, the empirical record does not support the beliefs of proponents of capital controls. Developing countries would be better served by addressing the real causes of financial turmoil. Specifically, countries should fix their unsound banking systems by opening their financial sectors to foreign competition, eliminate government guarantees against bank failures, create independent central banks, and move away from pegged exchange rates and toward floating or fully fixed exchange-rate regimes.

Suggested Citation

  • Hartwell, Christopher A., 2001. "The case against capital controls: financial flows, crises, and the flip side of the free-trade argument," MPRA Paper 40263, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:40263

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sally, David, 2001. "On sympathy and games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 1-30, January.
    2. Erte Xiao & Daniel Houser, 2005. "Emotion expression in human punishment behavior," Experimental 0504003, EconWPA, revised 18 May 2005.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew van Hulten & Michael Webber, 2010. "Do developing countries need 'good' institutions and policies and deep financial markets to benefit from capital account liberalization?," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 283-319, March.
    2. Kinga Z Elo, 2007. "The Effect of Capital Controlson Foreign Direct Investment Decisions Under Country Risk with Intangible Assets," IMF Working Papers 07/79, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Hartwell, Christopher A., 2011. "All That’s Old is New Again: Capital Controls and the Macroeconomic Determinants of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets," MPRA Paper 40257, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    capital controls; Asian financial crisis;

    JEL classification:

    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements


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