Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

Optimal Policy for Financial Market Liberalizations: Decentralization and Capital Flow Reversals

Eicher, Theo S.
Turnovsky, Stephen J.
Volume: 1
Number: 1
Pages: 19 - 42
Month: February
ISSN-Print: 1465-6485
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2000
Keywords: Capital movements; Capital market
Abstract: Financial market liberalizations are an integral part of economic development. While initial booms in investment and output are commonly seen as signs of successful deregulation, they often reverse at a later stage as international capital flows turn negative and economic growth slows markedly. Such reversals of fortunes have commonly been attributed to incorrect policies that supposedly followed the initial, appropriate measures. It is unclear, however, if capital flow reversals are actually the result of policy reversals, or if they occur as part of the normal transition when financial liberalization is accompanied by a single sub-optimal policy. The later hypothesis has not been explored in the theoretical literature. We construct a general equilibrium growth model of a small open economy, in which capital flow reversals are the result of a single, sub-optimal policy imposed at the beginning of the financial liberalization. We show how improper taxation of foreign borrowing initially leads to strong growth fueled by an investment boom and foreign borrowing. Still along the transition, however, the model predicts that capital flows must reverse endogenously at a later stage, as the debt burden rises and the country specific risk premium increases. Our data on the Latin American and East Asian countries provide strong support for our hypothesis.