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Open Capital Account: Concrete Wealth or Paper Wealth

Author

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  • Junning Cai

    (University of Hawaii at Manoa)

  • Byron Gangnes

    (University of Hawaii at Manoa)

Abstract

Empirical evidence shows that capital inflows are often used by developing countries to finance excessive consumption. The existing literature explains these phenomena as resulting from institutional imperfections. In contrast, we argue that they can be fundamental outcomes of open capital account, under which ineffectiveness in using foreign savings for investments tends to result in capital inflows being channeled to consumption through wealth effect. Our analysis shows that, while risk aversion causes low investment elasticity and hence reduces the total benefit of capital account liberalization for society over time, it nevertheless tends to increase the benefit enjoyed by current generations and hence drive consumption booms. We show that the proportion of capital inflows used for financing consumption is negatively correlated with investment elasticity. We show that a positive yet uncertain future productivity shock is likely to cause consumption booms because of sluggish investment reactions. Our analysis shows that, the greater the expected future productivity is; or the greater the uncertainty is; the stronger the consumption booms will be. (JEL F21 F32 F41 F43)

Suggested Citation

  • Junning Cai & Byron Gangnes, 2004. "Open Capital Account: Concrete Wealth or Paper Wealth," International Finance 0401002, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpif:0401002
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; prepared on Win2000; pages: 36; figures: 3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Guillermo A. Calvo & Leonardo Leiderman & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1996. "Inflows of Capital to Developing Countries in the 1990s," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 123-139, Spring.
    2. Andrew B. Abel, 2003. "The Effects of a Baby Boom on Stock Prices and Capital Accumulation in the Presence of Social Security," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(2), pages 551-578, March.
    3. Michael Gavin & Ricardo Hausmann & Ernesto Talvi, 1997. "Saving Behavior in Latin America: Overview and Policy Issues," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6204, Inter-American Development Bank.
    4. Junning Cai, 2003. "Fundamental Paper Wealth and Monetary Policy," Macroeconomics 0309001, EconWPA.
    5. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1986. "Temporary Stabilization: Predetermined Exchange Rates," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(6), pages 1319-1329, December.
    6. Ben S. Bernanke, 1983. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Cyclical Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(1), pages 85-106.
    7. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 1987. "Current account dynamics in a finite horizon model," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3-4), pages 299-313, November.
    8. Michael Gavin & Ricardo Hausmann & Ernesto Talvi, 1997. "Saving Behavior in Latin America: Overview and Policy Issues," Research Department Publications 4070, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    9. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474.
    10. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985. "Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-247, April.
    11. Helpman, Elhanan & Razin, Assaf, 1987. "Exchange Rate Management: Intertemporal Tradeoffs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 107-123, March.
    12. Michael Gavin & Ricardo Hausmann & Ernesto Talvi, 1997. "Saving Behavior in Latin America: Overview and Policy Issues," Research Department Publications 4070, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    13. Helmut Reisen, 1996. "Net capital inflows: how much to accept, how much to resist?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 289-321.
    14. Nazmi, Nader, 1997. "Exchange rate-based stabilization in Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 519-535, January.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    open capital account; wealth effect; consumption boom; investment elasticity;

    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies

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