The high demand for international reserves in the Far East: what's going on?
This paper explores econometric and theoretical interpretations for the relatively high demand for international reserves by countries in the Far East and the relatively low demand by some other developing countries. Using a sample of about 125 developing countries, we show that reserve holdings over the 1980-1996 period seem to be the predictable outcome of a few key factors, such as the size of international transactions, their volatility, the exchange-rate arrangement, and political considerations. The estimating equation also does a good job of predicting reserve holdings in Asia before ...
Hoarding international reserves versus a Pigovian tax-cum-subsidy scheme: Reflections on the deleveraging crisis of 2008-9, and a cost benefit analysis
In this paper we outline a Pigovian tax-cum-subsidy scheme that deals with concerns about the costs and efficacy of hoarding international reserves (IR) as a means of self-insurance against a deleveraging crisis. We overview the degree to which IR provided self-insurance to Emerging Markets (EMs) during the 2008-9 crisis, pointing out that the fear of losing IR constrained the use of a pre-crisis IR war-chest. The crisis validates the need for external debt management policy. EMs found that their initial large stocks of IR were not enough to prevent runs on their IR and large currency ...
Financial liberalization: how well has it worked for developing countries?
This Economic Letter gives a summary of another analysis of the impact of financial liberalization on the economic performance of developing countries from 1991 to 2001. It describes a new and simple method that measures the degree of international capital mobility and that also provides useful information about the degree to which a nation's domestic stock of capital is self-financed.
Sterilization, monetary policy, and global financial integration
This paper investigates the changing pattern and efficacy of sterilization within emerging market countries as they liberalize markets and integrate with the world economy. We estimate the marginal propensity to sterilize foreign asset accumulation associated with net balance of payments inflows, across countries and over time. We find that the extent of sterilization of foreign reserve inflows has risen in recent years to varying degrees in Asia as well as in Latin America, consistent with greater concerns about the potential inflationary impact of reserve inflows. We also find that ...
Uncertainty and the disappearance of international credit
This paper identifies factors associated with takeoff--a sustained period of high growth following a period of stagnation. We examine a panel of 241 "stagnation episodes" from 146 countries, 54% of these episodes are followed by takeoffs. Countries that experience takeoffs average 2.3% annual growth following their stagnation episodes, while those that do not average 0% growth; 46% of the takeoffs are "sustained," i.e. lasting 8 years or longer. Using probit estimation, we find that de jure trade openness is positively and significantly associated with takeoffs. A one standard deviation ...
Institutional efficiency, monitoring costs, and the investment share of FDI
This paper models and tests the implications of institutional efficiency on the pattern of foreign direct investment (FDI). We posit that domestic agents have a comparative advantage over foreign agents in overcoming some of the obstacles associated with corruption and weak institutions. We model these circumstances in a principal-agent framework with costly ex-post monitoring and enforcement of an ex-ante labor contract. Ex-post monitoring and enforcement costs are assumed to be lower for domestic entrepreneurs than for foreign ones, but foreign producers enjoy a countervailing productivity ...
Asset class diversification and delegation of responsibilities between central banks and sovereign wealth funds
This paper presents a model comparing the optimal degree of asset class diversification abroad by a central bank and a sovereign wealth fund. We show that if the central bank manages its foreign asset holdings in order to meet balance of payments needs, particularly in reducing the probability of sudden stops in foreign capital inflows, it will place a high weight on holding safer foreign assets. In contrast, if the sovereign wealth fund, acting on behalf of the Treasury, maximizes the expected utility of a representative domestic agent, it will opt for relatively greater holding of more ...
Sovereign wealth funds: stylized facts about their determinants and governance
This paper presents statistical analysis supporting stylized facts about sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). It discusses the forces leading to the growth of SWFs, including the role of fuel exports and ongoing current account surpluses, and large hoarding of international reserves. It analyzes the degree to which measures of SWF governance and transparency compare with national norms of behavior. We provide evidence that many countries with SWFs are characterized by effective governance but weak democratic institutions, as compared to other nonindustrial countries. We also present a model with ...
Fiscal Stimulus and Commercial Bank Lending Under COVID-19
We investigate the implications of extra-normal government spending under the COVID-19 pandemic for commercial bank lending growth between 2019Q4 and 2020Q4 in a large sample of over 3000 banks from 71 countries. We control for pre-pandemic structural factors, bank characteristics and government debt. To address the likely endogeneity of government assistance under the pandemic, we instrument for extra-normal spending using disparities in pre-existing national political characteristics for identification. Our results indicate that while higher government spending was associated with higher ...