International Finance and Growth in Developing Countries: What Have We Learned?

86 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2009 Last revised: 24 Aug 2010

See all articles by Maurice Obstfeld

Maurice Obstfeld

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: February 2009

Abstract

Despite an abundance of cross-section, panel, and event studies, there is strikingly little convincing documentation of direct positive impacts of financial opening on the economic welfare levels or growth rates of developing countries. The econometric difficulties are similar to those that bedevil the literature on trade openness and growth, though if anything, they are more severe in the context of finance. There is also little systematic evidence that financial opening raises welfare indirectly by promoting collateral reforms of economic institutions or policies. At the same time, opening the financial account does appear to raise the frequency and severity of economic crises. Nonetheless, developing countries have moved over time in the direction of further financial openness. A plausible explanation is that financial development is a concomitant of economic growth, and a growing financial sector in an economy open to trade cannot long be insulated from cross-border financial flows. This survey discusses the policy framework in which financial globalization is most likely to prove beneficial. The reforms developing countries need to institute to make their economies safe for international asset trade are the same ones they need so as to curtail the power of entrenched economic interests and liberate the economy's productive potential.

Suggested Citation

Obstfeld, Maurice, International Finance and Growth in Developing Countries: What Have We Learned? (February 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w14691. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1335716

Maurice Obstfeld (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States
510-643-9646 (Phone)
510-642-6615 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://emlab.berkeley.edu/users/obstfeld/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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