The Order of Liberalization of the Current and Capital Accounts of the Balance of Payments

Sebastian Edwards

NBER Working Paper No. 1507 (Also Reprint No. r0941)
Issued in November 1984
NBER Program(s):International Trade and Investment, International Finance and Macroeconomics

The opening up of an economy to the rest of the world has generally been considered an integral part of economic reform aimed at increasing the role of markets. Until recently, however, very little discussion was devoted to the order in which the capital and current account should be liberalized indeveloping countries.This paper deals with several aspects of the order of liberalization. The different arguments usually given to advocate a particular ordering are critically reviewed. Then a three-good two-factor model is used to analyze the effects of alternative ordering on production and income distribution. A two-period model of a small economy is also used to investigate the welfare effects of opening the capital account in the presence of distortions. While the discussion does not yield a theorem regarding the appropriate order of liberalization, there are strong presumptions that it is more prudent to liberalize the current account first.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w1507

Published: Edwards, Sebastian. "The Order of Liberalization of the Current and Capital Accounts of the Balance of Payments," Economic Liberalization in Developing Countries, eds. A.C. Choksi and D. Papageorgious, Oxford: Basi Blackwell , 1986.

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