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The Myth of Financial Protectionism: The New (and old) Economics of Capital Controls

  • Kevin Gallagher
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    Unstable global capital flows to developing countries have been characteristic of the world economy in the wake of the global financial crisis. The nations that have deployed capital controls to mitigate the negative effects of such flows have been branded as “protectionist” by some. This paper argues that such claims are unfounded. There is a longstanding strand of modern economic theory that dates back to Keynes and Prebisch and continues to this day that sees the use of capital controls as essential for macroeconomic stability and in order to deploy an independent monetary policy. In a most recent development, a “new welfare economics” of capital controls has arisen within the mainstream that sees controls as measures to correct for market failures due to imperfect information, contagion, uncertainty and beyond. Taken as a whole then, rather than the “new protectionism,” capital controls could be seen as the “new correctionism” that re-justifies a tool that has long been recognized to promote stability and growth in developing countries.

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    Paper provided by Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst in its series Working Papers with number wp278.

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    Date of creation: 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:uma:periwp:wp278
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    1. C. E. Weller, 2001. "Financial Crises After Financial Liberalisation: Exceptional Circumstances or Structural Weakness?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(1), pages 98-127.
    2. Chinn,M.D. & Ito,H., 2005. "What matters for financial development? : capital controls, institutions, and interactions," Working papers 4, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    3. Nicolas E. Magud & Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "Capital Controls: Myth and Reality - A Portfolio Balance Approach," NBER Working Papers 16805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. M. Ayhan Kose & Eswar S. Prasad & Ashley D. Taylor, 2009. "Thresholds in the Process of International Financial Integration," NBER Working Papers 14916, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Joshua Aizenman & Yothin Jinjarak & Donghyun Park, 2013. "Capital Flows and Economic Growth in the Era of Financial Integration and Crisis, 1990–2010," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 371-396, July.
    6. Nicolas Magud & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2007. "Capital Controls: An Evaluation," NBER Chapters, in: Capital Controls and Capital Flows in Emerging Economies: Policies, Practices and Consequences, pages 645-674 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Maurice Obstfeld, 2001. "International Macroeconomics: Beyond the Mundell-Fleming Model," NBER Working Papers 8369, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521582223 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Philip Arestis, 2002. "Financial crisis in Southeast Asia: dispelling illusion the Minskyan way," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(2), pages 237-260, March.
    10. Ilene Grabel, 2003. "Averting crisis? Assessing measures to manage financial integration in emerging economies," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(3), pages 317-336, May.
    11. Stiglitz, Joseph & Ocampo, Jose Antonio & Spiegel, Shari & Ffrench-Davis, Ricardo & Nayyar, Deepak, 2006. "Stability with Growth: Macroeconomics, Liberalization and Development," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199288144, March.
    12. Esteban Pérez Caldentey & Matías Vernengo, 2011. "Portrait of the Economist as a Young Man: Raúl Prebisch’s evolving views on the business cycle and money, 1919-1949," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, University of Utah 2011_13, University of Utah, Department of Economics.
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