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Ineffective controls on capital inflows under sophisticated financial markets: Brazil in the nineties

We analyze the Brazilian experience in the 1990s to access the effectiveness of controls on capital inflows in restricting financial inflows and changing their composition towards long term flows. Econometric exercises (VARs) lead us to conclude that controls on capital inflows were effective in deterring financial inflows for only a brief period, from two to six months. The hypothesis to explain the ineffectiveness of the controls is that financial institutions performed several operations aimed at avoiding capital controls. We then conducted interviews with market players in order to provide several examples of the financial strategies that were used in this period to invest in the Brazilian fixed income market while bypassing capital controls. The main conclusion is that controls on capital inflows, while they may be desirable, are of very limited effectiveness under sophisticated financial markets. Therefore, policy-makers should avoid spending the scarce resources of bank supervision trying to implement them and focus more in improving economic policy.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil) in its series Textos para discussão with number 516.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper no. 12283, 2006
Handle: RePEc:rio:texdis:516
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  1. Eliane A. Cardoso & Ilan Goldfajn, 1997. "Capital Flows to Brazil: The Endogeneity of Capital Controls," IMF Working Papers 97/115, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Barry Eichengreen, James Tobin, and Charles Wyplosz., 1994. "Two Cases for Sand in the Wheels of International Finance," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C94-045, University of California at Berkeley.
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  11. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo & Leiderman, Leonardo, 1992. "Capital Inflows and Real Exchange Rate Appreciation in Latin America," MPRA Paper 13843, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. 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,.
  13. Bartolini, Leonardo & Drazen, Allan, 1997. "When liberal policies reflect external shocks, what do we learn?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-4), pages 249-273, May.
  14. Raghuram G. Rajan, 2005. "Has Financial Development Made the World Riskier?," NBER Working Papers 11728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Reinhart, Carmen & Smith, R Todd, 2002. "Temporary controls on capital inflows," MPRA Paper 13863, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Corbo, Vittorio & Hernandez, Leonardo, 1996. "Macroeconomic Adjustment to Capital Inflows: Lessons from Recent Latin American and East Asian Experience," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 61-85, February.
  17. Jose De Gregorio & Sebastian Edwards & Rodrigo O. Valdes, 2000. "Controls on Capital Inflows: Do they Work?," NBER Working Papers 7645, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Maurice Obstfeld, 1994. "The Logic of Currency Crises," NBER Working Papers 4640, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  23. Garcia, Márcio & Olivares, Gino, 2001. "O Prêmio de Risco da Taxa de Câmbio no Brasil durante o Plano Real," Revista Brasileira de Economia, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), vol. 55(2), April.
  24. Kristin J. Forbes, 2003. "One Cost of the Chilean Capital Controls: Increased Financial Constraints for Smalles Traded Firms," NBER Working Papers 9777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  26. Robert Brandon Kahn & Adam Bennett & María Vicenta Carkovic S. & Susan Schadler, 1993. "Recent Experiences with Surges in Capital Inflows," IMF Occasional Papers 108, International Monetary Fund.
  27. Peter M. Garber, 1998. "Derivatives in International Capital Flows," NBER Working Papers 6623, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Ilan Goldfajn & André Minella, 2005. "Capital Flows and Controls in Brazil: What Have We Learned?," NBER Working Papers 11640, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Edison, Hali & Reinhart, Carmen M., 2001. "Stopping hot money," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 533-553, December.
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  31. Goldstein, Morris, 1995. "Coping with too much of a good thing : policy responses for large capital inflows in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1507, The World Bank.
  32. Forbes, Kristin J., 2004. "Capital Controls: Mud in the Wheels of Market Discipline," Working papers 4454-03, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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