Journal of Monetary Economics2013-09-05 2:57 AM

Capital flows under moral hazard

Highlights • This paper compares moral hazard and limited enforcement frictions in a SOE model. • Moral hazard rationalizes non-contingent lending to emerging economies. • Moral hazard explains key business cycle facts about emerging economies. • Limited enforcement adds little to model fit once moral hazard friction is present. • Moral hazard is supported by a simple empirical test developed in this paper. Abstract I analyze a model with moral hazard and limited enforcement in a small open economy. I find that when state contingent contracting is allowed adding the moral hazard friction improves the model's predictions along several dimensions. First, it justifies why non-contingent debt is an optimal way to finance an emerging economy. Second, it explains the limited consumption risk-sharing and high, volatile and counter-cyclical interest rates. Third, it generates realistic crisis-like dynamics in which capital inflows are brought to a halt and interest rates sky-rocket. The model also has a strong internal propagation mechanism. Limited enforcement friction, alone or together with moral hazard, has nearly no effect on the model's performance. I also construct a simple empirical test to distinguish between the two frictions and it favors moral hazard over limited enforcement friction.

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Journal of Monetary Economics

The Journal of Monetary Economics is a peer-reviewed academic journal covering research on macroeconomics and monetary economics. It is published by Elsevier and was established in October 1973 by Karl Brunner and Charles I. Plosser.

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