Capital controls re-examined: the case for ‘smart’ controls
The global financial crisis which began in east Asia in 1997 is not over, neither is the inquest into its implications for adjustment policy. In the wake of this crisis, we focus here on the role of capital controls, which formed a much publicised part of the crisis-coping strategy in one country (Malaysia) and, less openly, were also deployed by other crisis-afflicted countries. Evaluation so far has examined different target variables with different estimation methods, generally concentrating on efficiency and stability indicators and ignoring equity measures; it has also typically treated `control´ as a one-zero dummy variable, ignoring the `quality´ of intervention and in particular the extent to which efficiency gains are obtained in exchange for controls. Partly because of these limitations, the literature has reached no consensus on the impact of controls, nor therefore about where they fit within the set of post-crisis defence mechanisms. We propose an approach in which the government plays off short-term political security against long-term economic gain; the more insecure its political footing, the greater the weight it gives to political survival, which is likely to increase the probability of controls being imposed. The modelling of this approach generates a governmental `policy reaction function´ and an impact function for controls, which are estimated by simultaneous panel-data methods across a sample of thirty developing and transitional countries between 1980-2003, using, for the period since 1996, the `new´ IMF dataset which differentiates between controls by type. We find that controls appear to cause increases in income equality, and are significantly associated with political insecurity and relatively low levels of openness to trade. They do not, in our analysis, materially influence the level of whole-economy productivity or GDP across the sample of countries examined, although they do influence productivity in particular sectors, in particular manufacturing. But the dispersion around this central finding is wide: the tendency for controls to depress productivity by encouraging rent-seeking sometimes is, and sometimes is not, counteracted by purposive government policy actions to maintain competitiveness. Whether or not this happens – whether, as we put it, controls are `smart´, and the manner in which they are smartened - is vital, on both efficiency and equity grounds. We devise a formula for, and make the case for capital controls which are time-limited, and contain an inbuilt incentive to increased productivity, as a means of improving the sustainability and equity of the adjustment process whilst keeping to a minimum the cost in terms of productive efficiency.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2005|
|Date of revision:||Jun 2005|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 9 Mappin Street, SHEFFIELD, S1 4DT|
Phone: +44 114 222 3399
Fax: + 44 (0)114 222 3458
Web page: http://www.shef.ac.uk/economics
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Maurice Obstfeld., 1993.
"Risk-Taking, Global Diversification, and Growth,"
Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers
C93-016, University of California at Berkeley.
- Obstfeld, Maurice, 1992. "Risk-Taking, Global Diversification, and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 688, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Maurice Obstfeld, 1992. "Risk-Taking, Global Diversification, and Growth," NBER Working Papers 4093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Maurice Obstfeld, 1992. "Risk-taking, global diversification, and growth," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 61, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Sebastian Edwards, 1999.
"How Effective Are Capital Controls?,"
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
American Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 65-84, Fall.
- Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 1988.
"External Debt, Capital Flight and Political Risk,"
NBER Working Papers
2610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 1988. "External Debt, Capital Flight and Political Risk," UCLA Economics Working Papers 538, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Alesina, Alberto F & Tabellini, Guido, 1988. "External Debt, Capital Flight and Political Risk," CEPR Discussion Papers 253, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1989. "External Debt, Capital Flight and Political Risk," Scholarly Articles 4553019, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Scharfstein, David. & Stein, Jeremy C., 1988.
"Herd behavior and investment,"
WP 2062-88., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
- Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995.
"Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration,"
Brookings Papers on Economic Activity,
Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 1-118.
- Jeffrey Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Progress of Global Integration," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1733, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Tornell, Aaron, 1990. "Real vs. financial investment can Tobin taxes eliminate the irreversibility distortion?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 419-444, April.
- Perotti, Roberto & Alesina, Alberto, 1996. "Income Distribution, Political Instability, and Investment," Scholarly Articles 4553018, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Saporta, Victoria & Andrew G Haldane & Gregor Irwin, 2003.
"Bail-Out or Work-Out? Theoretical Considerations,"
Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003
181, Royal Economic Society.
- Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1996.
"Income distribution, political instability, and investment,"
European Economic Review,
Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1203-1228, June.
- Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1993. "Income Distribution, Political Instability, and Investment," NBER Working Papers 4486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Reinhart, Carmen & Edison, Hali, 2001.
"Stopping hot money,"
13862, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Richard N. Cooper, 1999. "Should Capital Controls be Banished?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 30(1), pages 89-142.
- Paul Mosley & John Hudson & Arjan Verschoor, 2004. "Aid, Poverty Reduction and the 'New Conditionality'," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(496), pages F217-F243, 06.
- Rawi Abdelal & Laura Alfaro, 2003. "Capital and Control: Lessons from Malaysia," Challenge, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 46(4), pages 36-53, July.
- Vittorio Grilli & Gian M Milesi-Ferretti, 1995.
"Economic Effects and Structural Determinants of Capital Controls,"
IMF Working Papers
95/31, International Monetary Fund.
- Vittorio Grilli & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 1995. "Economic Effects and Structural Determinants of Capital Controls," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 42(3), pages 517-551, September.
- Anita Doraisami, 2004. "From crisis to recovery: the motivations for and effects of Malaysian capital controls," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(2), pages 241-254.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2005009. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jacob Holmes)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.