|Working Paper||740 KB|
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.
An earlier version appeared as NBER Working Paper No. 12484, August 2006.