The topic of capital flows to emerging markets (henceforth EM) poses several questions. There is the question of why capital flows to EM's are so little, as in Lucas (1990), just as there is the concern that capital flows might be ‘too much’ as in Reinhart and Rogoff (2004). The precise costs and benefits to EM's in terms of international risk sharing, volatility of real variables, productivity spillovers, among others, are also points of debate (Aguiar and Gopinath, 2006 and Jeanne and Gourinchas, in press). This book, takes the level of capital flows as given and explores another important set of questions regarding the currency composition and maturity composition of borrowing by EM's—namely, why do EM's borrow mainly in a foreign currency and at short maturities. This book proposes an intriguing answer and an impressive amount of evidence. However, just as with the other questions, the debate remains unsettled and urges the need for further research.
Emerging market business cycles exhibit strongly countercyclical current accounts, consumption volatility that exceeds income volatility, and “sudden stops” in capital inflows. These features contrast with developed small open economies. Nevertheless, we show that a standard model characterizes both types of markets. Motivated by the frequent policy regime switches observed in emerging markets, our premise is that these economies are subject to substantial volatility in trend growth. Our methodology exploits the information in consumption and net exports to identify the persistence of productivity. We find that shocks to trend growth—rather than transitory fluctuations around a stable trend—are the primary source of fluctuations in emerging markets. The key features of emerging market business cycles are then shown to be consistent with this underlying income process in an otherwise standard equilibrium model.