Varieties of Capital Flows: What Do We Know?

Apr 2016
Capital flows have been the subject of acute policy concern since the Brady plan launched the emerging markets bond asset class. Their massive volume, coupled with their volatile and procyclical nature, is often associated with a variety of financial and real risks, which have changed over time. While emerging market crises in the 1990s and 2000s were inherently driven by financial dollarization and balance sheet effects, financial dollarization has receded in emerging markets and the focus has 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. These conditions make it difficult to evaluate capital flows based on data mostly from the 1990s and early 2000s, and recent empirical literature is reviewed that revisits the issue with fresh data and an open mind.