Economic and financial integration in emerging markets

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A EUROPEAN POLICY

ABSTRACT:

This paper extends to test if the short and in the long run. Weak indica- the same short-run increase in cyclical tions are found that this may happen par- volatility arising from financial integration tially due to the anchoring of expectations is observed in this specific sample of “emerg-provided by the EU Accession, and to the ing markets”. This work finds signs that, more robust institutional framework contrary to other emerging markets, this imposed by this process onto the countries in does not happen: for the future Member question. States, financial integration, similarly to the KEY WORDS: Enlargement, European outcome observed in mature market Union, financial liberalization, booms, 81 economies, reduces cyclical volatility both in busts, cycles, volatility.

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1. INTRODUCTION

Financial and capital flows’ liberalization can play a fundamental role in increasing growth and welfare. Typically, emerging or developing economies seek foreign savings to solve the inter-temporal savings-investment problem. On the other hand, current account surplus countries seek opportunities to invest their savings. To the extent that capital flows from surplus to deficit countries are well intermediated and, therefore, put to the most productive use, they increase welfare. Liberalization can, however, also be dangerous, as has been witnessed in many past and recent financial, currency and banking crises. It can make countries more vulnerable to exogenous shocks. In particular, if serious macroeconomic imbalances exist in a recipient country, and if the financial sector is weak, be it in terms of risk management, prudential regulation and supervision, large capital flows can easily lead to serious financial, banking or currency crises. A number of recent crises, like those in East Asia, Mexico, Russia, Brazil and Turkey (described, for example, in IMF (2001)), and, to some extent, the Argentinean episode of late 2001, early 2002, have demonstrated the potential risks associated with financial and capital flows liberalization.

Central and Eastern Europe has a somewhat different experience, when compared to other emerging regions, concerning the financial liberalization process, as the process there seems to have been much less crisis-prone than in, for instance, Asia or Latin America. This maybe, at least partially, because the current high degree of external and financial liberalization in the Central Eastern European countries (CEECs), beyond questions of economic allocative efficiency, must be understood in terms of the process of Accession to the European Union. The EU integration process implies legally binding, sweeping liberalization measures-not only capital account liberalization, but investment by EU firms in the domestic financial services, and the maintenance of a competitive domestic environment, giving this financial liberalization process strong external incentives (and constraints). Those measures were implemented parallel to the development of a highly sophisticated regulatory and supervisory structure, again based on EU standards.

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