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Faculty Research Working Paper Series
Eduardo Levy Yeyati
Visiting Professor of Public Policy
Varieties of Capital Flows: What Do We Know
Levy Yeyati, Eduardo, and Jimena Zúñiga. "Varieties of Capital Flows: What Do We Know." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP15-025, May 2015.
Abstract
Capital flows have been the subject of key policy concern since the Brady plan launched the emerging markets asset class. Their massive volume, coupled with their volatile and procyclical nature, is often associated with a variety of financial and real risks: excess exchange rate volatility (gradual overvaluation and sharp corrections), dollar liquidity crunches, distressed asset sales, and crisis propensity. These risks have changed over time. Emerging market crises in the 1990s and 2000s were inherently driven by financial dollarization and balance sheet effects, the latter were intimately related with capital inflows in the form of growing foreign liability positions. But, now that financial dollarization has receded in the emerging market word (either through debt deleveraging or international reserve accumulation), the focus shifted to the macroeconomic effects of cross market flows, including extended periods of exchange rate misalignment and the amplification of business cycles in a context of large and persistent terms-of-trade shocks and global liquidity swings. Hence, the difficulty of evaluating capital flows based on data mostly from the 1990s and early 2000s. Hence, also, the emphasis on the recent empirical literature that revisits the issue with fresh data and an open mind.
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