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November 19, 2008

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Tord steiro

You don't think incentives can have anything to do with this?

Who gains from financial liberalization? Governments who use foreign borrowing to pay patronage through overpaid government jobs? Any powerful special interest groups, perhaps?

I have the idea that, at least in some cases, you can find some clues by simply "follow the money".

And I guess this can easily be incorporated in the argument I was building here: http://rodrik.typepad.com/dani_rodriks_weblog/2008/11/trade-protection-and-growth.html#comment-139558482

Dan

Dani,

For countries aspiring to affluence (and not just the absence of famine), some measure of financial integration is perceived as inevitable and integral to the kind of capacity building that is necessary to take effective action in the international private and the public sphere.

How does a Korean manager grow comfortable with the idea of expanding internationally if she has never dealt with an international financing deal?

How does a Brazilian central bank official grow comfortable with managing international loans if she has never heard of exchange offers, events of default and restructurings? How then can she be an agent for the national interest in IMF meetings if she has no expertise in these matters?

The only option to some degree of financial integration is hoping that each country can constitute, in isolation, each feature of a fully functioning and developed financial market by fiat and hope to make it spring to life. Good luck with that.

The leakage of know-how that results from financial integration can be immense. Think of accounting convergence, improvements in internal controls, treasury operations, risk management and corporate governance.

In the end this capacity building is also a matter of geopolitics - many countries correctly perceive that their ability to assert a measure of sovereignty and to be effective in international affairs demands some degree of sophistication and skill in handling financial matters.

So the intended results include not only the usual supposed economic benefits - more financing sources and lower cost of capital - but also a more robust, effective and credible private and public sectors.

Dan

Sandro Perricelli

One of the reasons why it is hard to detect the effect of financial opening on growth and welfare is that financial opening is integral and necessary part of economic convergence. Hence every country beyond a certain income level both adopts open finance and slows down its speed of convergence.

Think about China with 10000 dollars of income per capita (which might happen in our lifetime). Do you think China will have closed finance then?

Indregard

Another hypothesis: Poor countries are adapting the policies they believe the rich countries want them to adopt, because they believe themselves better off in the long run when they please the rich.

The rich countries are generally interested in open finance markets.

Another hypothesis: Lack of knowledge and competence nudges poor countries into relying on IMF/World Bank experts, and they have long been evangelizing the benefits of openness.

Adolpho

Dani,

I really believe that capital account liberalization can´t sustain growth, but, there is compelling evidence that such liberalization leads countries to invest more and to grow faster temporarily. Here is a paper (http://www.nber.org/papers/w12698) that makes the point. I would like to hear your comments.

Thanks a lot.

Tord Steiro

Indregard

Unfortunately, I doubt that many governments in poor countries considers the long term. But if capital liberalization gives them a short term political benefit through cheap loans that can be used to pay patronage, they have a short term incentive for the move.

I also agree that your second hypothesis sounds plausible. At least for many countries.

But again, what is the difference between doing what the IMF/WB tells you to do, and pleasing the rich countries? Not much, I guess. And if doing as the IMF tells you to do increases your credit rating and thus the availablity of loans that can be used to reach short-term goals, then we're back to #1 anyways (except for the initial motivation, of course).

Per Kurowski

Two comments: First let us not forget that frequently the openings, like in Mexico and Venezuela, we mostly a consequence of a disaster.

Second, having seen similar studies draw the most outrageous conclusions basically because they used average data that completely hid the detonating events I believe that to understand the effects an historians approach, a day by day what happened analysis is much more useful. Sorry my econometrical friends. The desk won’t do. You have to walk the streets. (Just as the credit rating agencies should have walked theirs to discover, in time, how sick the subprime mortgages had become).

Manuel Moreira

And what is the role of agencies such as Moodys and Standard&Poor punishing any deviance from the financial orthodoxy?

Youri Kemp

Hi Prof. Rodrik,

I too think- as you are alluding to I assume- that the policy recommendations of the G-7 countries more than dominate developing country policy decisions, in regards to financial globalization.

If the policies in the developed countries are 'kind' to financial globalization, then the developing countries have, possibly and to their detriment, been kinder-- to the extent that they have, by design, little or no tax or regulation on globalized capital.

Best,

Youri
http://globalviewtoday.blogspot.com/

p.s.
I love your literature, by the way!

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In my opinion, financial liberalization can be good if done carefully but it can really hurt a developing country if it is done in haste just to please the donors.

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China is a good example, but even there, they are changing

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