Estimated Policy Rules for Capital Controls
61 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2020
Date Written: June 2020
This paper borrows the tradition of estimating policy reaction functions from monetary policy literature to ask whether capital controls respond to macroprudential or mercantilist motivations. I explore this question using a novel, weekly dataset on capital control actions in 21 emerging economies from 2001 to 2015. I introduce a new proxy for mercantilist motivations: the weighted appreciation of an emerging-market currency against its top five trade competitors. This proxy Granger causes future net initiations of non-tariff barriers in most countries. Emerging markets systematically respond to both mercantilist and macroprudential motivations. Policymakers respond to trade competitiveness concerns by using both instruments-inflow tightening and outflow easing. They use only inflow tightening in response to macroprudential concerns. Policy is acyclical to foreign debt; however, high levels of this debt reduces countercyclicality to mercantilist concerns. Higher exchange rate pass-through to export prices, and having an inflation targeting regime with non-freely floating exchange rates, increase responsiveness to mercantilist concerns.
JEL Classification: F3, F4, F5, G00, G1, O24, E52, E01, F13
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