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The Rebranding of Capital Controls in an Era of Productive Incoherence

  • Ilene Grabel
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    The re-branding of capital controls has occurred against a broader backdrop of change and uncertainty. This state of affairs—which I have elsewhere termed “productive incoherence”--constitutes the broader environment in which thinking and practice on capital controls is now evolving. The present incoherence is, in my view, productive because it has widened the space around capital controls to a greater and more consistent degree than in the years that followed the East Asian crisis of 1997-98.� How are we to account for this extraordinary ideational and policy evolution on capital controls during the current crisis? I examine five factors that, in my view, must appear in any comprehensive account of the evolving re-branding of capital controls during the current crisis. These include: (1) the rise of increasingly autonomous developing states, largely as a consequence of their successful responses to the Asian financial crisis; (2) the increasing self confidence and assertiveness of their policymakers in part as a consequence of their relative success in responding to the current crisis at a time when many advanced economies faltered badly; (3) a pragmatic adjustment by the IMF to an altered global economy in which its influence has been severely restricted; (4) the intensification of the need for capital controls by countries at the extremes—i.e., not just those that faced implosion and thereby threatened cross-national contagion, but also and far more importantly by those that fared “too well” during the current crisis; and (5) changes in the ideas of academic economists and among IMF staff.� I conclude by exploring in passing important tensions that have emerged in conjunction with the re-branding of capital controls. Paramount in this regard are the efforts by IMF staff and some academic economists to “domesticate” the discussion and use of capital controls, in part by the implementation of (something akin to) a “code of conduct” to regulate and constrain capital account interventions.�

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    Paper provided by Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst in its series Working Papers with number wp318.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:uma:periwp:wp318
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    1. Kose, M. Ayhan & Prasad, Eswar & Rogoff, Kenneth & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2009. "Financial Globalization and Economic Policies," IZA Discussion Papers 4037, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Kevin P. Gallagher, 2010. "Policy Space to Prevent and Mitigate Financial Crises in Trade and Investment Agreements," G-24 Discussion Papers 58, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
    3. Nicolas Magud & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2006. "Capital Controls: An Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 11973, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
      • 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.
    4. M Ayhan Kose & Eswar Prasad & Kenneth Rogoff & Shang-Jin Wei, 2009. "Financial Globalization: A Reappraisal," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 56(1), pages 8-62, April.
    5. Joshua Aizenman, 2009. "Hoarding International Reserves Versus a Pigovian Tax-Cum-Subsidy Scheme: Reflections on the Deleveraging Crisis of 2008-9, and a Cost Benefit Analysis," NBER Working Papers 15484, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Nicolas E. Magud E. & Carmen M. & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "Capital Controls: Myth and Reality--A Portfolio Balance Approach," Working Paper Series WP11-7, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    7. Daniela Gabor, 2012. "Managing Capital Accounts in Emerging Markets: Lessons from the Global Financial Crisis," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(6), pages 714-731, June.
    8. Ostry, Jonathan D., 2012. "Managing Capital Flows: What Tools to Use?," Asian Development Review, Asian Development Bank, vol. 29(1), pages 83-89.
    9. Olivier Jeanne, 2012. "Capital Flow Management," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 203-06, May.
    10. Ffrench-Davis Ricardo, 2010. "Latin America: The Structural Fiscal Balance Policy in Chile: A Move Toward Counter-Cyclical Macroeconomics," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-16, January.
    11. Kristin J. Forbes, 2005. "Capital Controls: Mud in the Wheels of Market Efficiency," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 25(1), pages 153-166, Winter.
    12. Barbosa Nelson, 2010. "Latin America: Counter-Cyclical Policy in Brazil: 2008-09," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-14, January.
    13. Anton Korinek, 2011. "The New Economics of Prudential Capital Controls: A Research Agenda," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 59(3), pages 523-561, August.
    14. Kasekende Louis & Brixova Zuzana & Ndikumana Leonce, 2010. "Africa: Africa's Counter-Cyclical Policy Responses to the Crisis," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-22, January.
    15. Jonathan David Ostry & Atish R. Ghosh & Anton Korinek, 2012. "Multilateral Aspects of Managing the Capital Account," IMF Staff Discussion Notes 12/10, International Monetary Fund.
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