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Globalization Institute Working Paper

A Theory of Capital Flow Retrenchment

No. 422
J. Scott Davis and Eric van Wincoop

Abstract: The empirical literature shows that gross capital inflows and outflows both decline following a negative global shock. However, to generate a positive co-movement between gross inflows and outflows, the theoretical literature relies on asymmetric shocks across countries. We present a model where there is heterogeneity across investors within countries, but there are no asymmetries across countries. We show that a negative global shock (rise in global risk-aversion) generates an identical drop in gross inflows and outflows. The within-country heterogeneity relates to the willingness of investors to hold risky assets and foreign assets.

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