Contending with Capital Flows

What is Different About the 1990s?

January 01, 1996


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Financial Markets


This paper compares and contrasts three distinct periods of sudden decline in international capital flows to developing countries: the 1930s, the 1980s, and the period following Mexico's sudden balance-of-payments crisis at the end of 1994. Three features are highlighted. First, the differences in scope are noted: over time the movement is from global to regional to country specific. Second, the international response to the problems is differentiated from none to an active role for the International Monetary Fund to direct response by the United States. Third is the difference in recipient country reactions: from import substitution to fiscal refom to monetary adjustment.