NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Growth Volatility and Financial Liberalization

Geert Bekaert, Campbell R. Harvey, Christian Lundblad

NBER Working Paper No. 10560
Issued in June 2004
NBER Program(s):   AP   EFG   ITI

We examine the effects of both equity market liberalization and capital account openness on real consumption growth variability. We show that financial liberalization is mostly associated with lower consumption growth volatility. Our results are robust, surviving controls for business-cycle effects, economic and financial development, the quality of institutions, and other variables. Countries that have more open capital accounts experience a greater reduction in consumption growth volatility after equity market openings. The results hold for both total and idiosyncratic consumption growth volatility. We also find that financial liberalizations are associated with declines in the ratio of consumption growth volatility to GDP growth volatility, suggesting improved risk sharing. Our results are weaker for liberalizing emerging markets but we never observe an increase in real volatility. Moreover, we demonstrate significant differences in the volatility response depending on the size of the banking and government sectors and certain institutional factors.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w10560

Published: Journal of International Money and Finance, Vol. 25, no. 3 (April 2006): 379-403

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