How ETFs Amplify the Global Financial Cycle in Emerging Markets

January 2018

Updated: September 2018

Tomas Williams, Nathan Converse, and Eduardo Levy-Yeyati.

IIEP Working Paper 2018-1

Abstract: Since the early 2000s exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have grown to become an important investment vehicle worldwide. In this paper, we study how their growth affects the sensitivity of international capital flows to the global financial cycle. We combine comprehensive fundlevel data on investor flows with a novel identification strategy that controls for unobservable time-varying economic conditions at the investment destination. For dedicated emerging market funds, we find that the sensitivity of investor flows to global financial conditions for equity (bond) ETFs is 2.5 (2.25) times higher than for equity (bond) mutual funds. In turn, we show that in countries where ETFs hold a larger share of financial assets, total cross-border equity flows and prices are significantly more sensitive to global financial conditions. We conclude that the growing role of ETFs as a channel for international capital flows amplifies the incidence of the global financial cycle in emerging markets.

JEL Classification: F32, G11, G15, G23

Keywords: exchange-traded funds; mutual funds; global financial cycle; global risk; push and pull factors; capital flows; emerging markets

Migration and Online Job Search: A Gravity Model Approach

April 2018

Tara Sinclair and Mariano Mamertino

IIEP Working Paper 2018-3

Abstract: Most studies of migration focus on realized migration. Data on realized migration take substantial time to collect and are available to researchers and policymakers only at a significant delay. In this study we consider a new potential data source in the form of tracking the patterns of online job seekers actively searching for a job in a country other than their current home. The advance of internet job search allows job seekers to explore international employment options before making a decision to move. We characterize job seeker interest across national borders by looking at user behavior on a major job search website. We investigate the determinants of cross-border job search using a standard gravity model and find that both the determinants and the relative importance of the determinants for job search are strikingly similar to those for past realized migration. This suggests both that job seekers are likely to act on their international job search and that these data may be useful for predicting future migration patterns. We use our results to explore the labor market mobility implications of a country, such as the UK, leaving the EU and find that leaving the EU may have international immigration impacts similar to increasing the distance between the leaver and the other EU countries by over one third.

JEL Codes: J6, J4, F22, O15

Keywords: international migration, labor mobility, online labor markets, European Union, Brexit

The Rise of Patient Capital: The Political Economy of Chinese Global Finance

July 2018

Stephen Kaplan

IIEP Working Paper 2018-2

Abstract: As the United States has retreated from its lead role in globalization – first because of the 2008 financial crisis, and now under President Donald Trump’s leadership – China has become a major global financial player. China, as the world’s largest saver, has rapidly expanded its cross-border lending since the crisis, more than doubling its overseas banking presence. What are the implications? I contend that China’s state-led capitalism is an important form of patient capital, characterized by a longerterm horizon. While technically classified as mobile capital, its higher risk tolerance and geopolitical shrewdness make state-owned capital less likely to swiftly exit debtor countries. Compared to traditional mobile capital, debtor governments thus gain more policy freedom, particularly during hard times when Western creditors might otherwise impose austerity and other onerous policy conditions. Employing an originally constructed dataset, the China Global Financial Index, I conduct an econometric test across 15 Latin American countries from 1990-2015. I find that left governments are more likely to borrow from China. However, notwithstanding this initial creditor choice, Chinese state-to-state lending then uniformly leads to higher budget deficits. It endows governments with more fiscal space to intervene in their economies by reducing their reliance on conditionality-linked Western financing. These results suggest that Chinese financing could be a development opportunity, but only if governments invest wisely. Otherwise, by lending without policy conditions, China may be encouraging developing country governments to spend without bounds, sowing the seeds for future debt problems.

Redefining Protectionism: The New Challenge in the Digital Age

by Susan Ariel Aaronson (George Washington University)

IIEP Working Paper 2016-30

Twenty-first century protectionism is a slippery concept. With the introduction of digital trade, it is important for scholars and policymakers to rethink how they define, measure, and address protectionism. This is most clear in the United States where attitudes towards digital trade and digital protectionism have been murky at best.

While the digital is important to all countries, it is particularly important to the United States, where digital trade represents nearly 55 percent of U.S. service exports and has generated an annual trade surplus of over $150 billion. In a principal effort to limit digital protectionism and maintain an open internet for the advancement of the free flow of information, the United States made the move to create binding rules to govern trade in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and was the first country to call out digital protectionism in other nations. Policymakers now understand that information, whether it is created or altered within their county, is an asset. Therefore, measures that restrict content, limit the flow of data, or impose standards that keep out foreign competition could threaten the generativity of the internet as a whole.

However, many governments disagree with the scope and breadth of U.S. claims about digital protectionism. For example, Canadian and Australian policymakers are determined to protect the privacy of their citizens’ health records and require such information to be stored on local servers to an extent that tends to outpace U.S. standards. Adding to the confusion, U.S. arguments against digital protectionism are often inconsistent. For example, in a 2013 report on foreign trade barriers, U.S. officials complained about Japan’s uneven, and Vietnam’s unclear, approach to consumer privacy. At the same time, the United States has argued that China’s failure to enforce its privacy laws is harmful to digital trade.

Despite the importance of digital trade and digital protectionism, the United States has not thought out its stance on questions like: Is a policy truly protectionist? How harmful are these policies to U.S. interests? Are trade sanctions an appropriate response, and which agency should be responsible for making these decisions? As digital trade takes up a bigger portion of the global economy, policymakers and companies will need clarity. Given the stakes, it is important that the United States takes a leading role in defining digital protectionism.

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