This paper offers empirical evidence that real exchange rate volatility can have a significant impact on the long-term rate of productivity growth, but the effect depends critically on a country’s level of financial development. For countries with relatively low levels of financial development, exchange rate volatility generally reduces growth, whereas for financially advanced countries, there is no significant effect. Our empirical analysis is based on an 83-country data set spanning the years 1960–2000; our results appear robust to time window, alternative measures of financial development and exchange rate volatility, and outliers. We also offer a simple monetary growth model in which real exchange rate uncertainty exacerbates the negative investment effects of domestic credit market constraints. Our approach delivers results that are in striking contrast to the vast existing empirical exchange rate literature, which largely finds the effects of exchange rate volatility on real activity to be relatively small and insignificant.
The literature on the benefits and costs of financial globalization for developing countries has exploded in recent years, but along many disparate channels with a variety of apparently conflicting results. There is still little robust evidence of the growth benefits of broad capital account liberalization, but a number of recent papers in the finance literature report that equity market liberalizations do significantly boost growth. Similarly, evidence based on microeconomic (firm- or industry-level) data shows some benefits of financial integration and the distortionary effects of capital controls, while the macroeconomic evidence remains inconclusive. At the same time, some studies argue that financial globalization enhances macroeconomic stability in developing countries, while others argue the opposite. We attempt to provide a unified conceptual framework for organizing this vast and growing literature, particularly emphasizing recent approaches to measuring the catalytic and indirect benefits to financial globalization. Indeed, we argue that the indirect effects of financial globalization on financial sector development, institutions, governance, and macroeconomic stability are likely to be far more important than any direct impact via capital accumulation or portfolio diversification. This perspective explains the failure of research based on cross-country growth regressions to find the expected positive effects of financial globalization and points to newer approaches that are potentially more useful and convincing.
This paper provides a comprehensive assessment of empirical evidence about the impact of financial globalization on growth and volatility in developing countries. The results suggest that it is difficult to establish a robust causal relationship between financial integration and economic growth. Furthermore, there is little evidence that developing countries have been consistently successful in using financial integration to stabilize fluctuations in consumption growth. However, we do find that financial globalization can be beneficial under the right circumstances. Empirically, good institutions and quality of governance are crucial in helping developing countries derive the benefits of globalization. Similarly, macroeconomic stability appears to be an important prerequisite for ensuring that financial globalization is beneficial for developing countries. Finally, countries that employ relatively flexible exchange rate regimes and succeed in maintaining fiscal discipline are more likely to enjoy the potential growth and stabilization benefits of financial globalization.