This paper surveys the literature on the effects of capital account openness and stock market liberalization on economic growth and provides a synthesis in which we reconcile some of the different results presented in the literature. Various empirical measures used to gauge the presence of controls on capital account transactions and the liberalization of equity markets are discussed. We compare detailed measures of capital account controls that attempt to capture the intensity of enforcement with other indicators that simply capture whether controls are present. A detailed review of the literature is followed by an empirical section in which we trace the divergence in published results to differences in country coverage, sample periods, indicators of liberalization, and control variables across studies. Specifically, we show that when an institutional variable such as government reputation is added to the specification, the significance of capital account openness vanishes. Also, we demonstrate that enriching the specification by allowing for nonlinearities helps explain why different studies that ignore the nonlinear nature of the relationship find different results. © 2004 International Monetary Fund.
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