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Capital Inflows, Policy Responses, and Their Ill Consequences: Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia in the Decade Before the Crises

Capital inflows, especially when volatile, denominated in foreign currencies and not properly hedged against exchange rate risks, may pose macroeconomic and financial problems in the recipient economy. In this paper we analyze the mechanisms through which those problems arise; and we assess the policies that national authorities may resort to in order to prevent them, under the assumption that capital inflows are the result of previous stabilization and liberalization packages. Also, we study the use and effectiveness of policy responses to capital inflows in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia in the years prior to the 1997-98 financial crises. We conclude that policies that reinforce the stabilization and adjustment trends of the 1980s are more likely to be (at least partially) ineffective or even counterproductive, whereas the measures that depart from those trends appear to have a higher potential for effectiveness but face obstacles to implementation.

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