This paper shows that debt flows have contractionary effects on emerging markets’ output, while equity flows have expansionary effects. Such correlations can be driven by counter-cyclical debt flows and pro-cyclical equity flows, or by debt flows that lead to an appreciation and hurt exports, and by equity flows that improve the productivity of the real economy, broadly defined. It focuses on business cycle frequencies and the effect of global risk appetite in driving capital flows into emerging markets. A positive initial impact of debt flows on output is followed by a negative impact. Equity flows have a positive impact on output initially, and thereafter. Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows have a positive effect on output only after a two-year lag, and if this period coincides with increased global uncertainty, the effect on output reverses, but the total effect stays positive. This result also holds for equity flows, suggesting that during increased periods of uncertainty, private investors leave emerging markets. Quantitative impacts are not large except in the case of FDI flows.

Part of Series

These papers are an output of a project that aims to promote policy and institutional innovation in global economic governance in two key areas: governance of international monetary and financial relations and international collaboration in financial regulation. With authors from eight countries, the 11 papers in this series add to existing knowledge and offer original recommendations for international policy cooperation and institutional innovation.
  • Şebnem Kalemli-Özcan is a Neil Moskowitz Endowed Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a research fellow at the Center for Economic Policy Research.