بدهی عمومی و اموال خصوصی: توضیح فرار سرمایه از کشورهای جنوب صحرای آفریقا
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : World Development, Volume 31, Issue 1, January 2003, Pages 107–130
We investigate the determinants of capital flight from 30 sub-Saharan African countries, including 24 countries classified as severely indebted low-income countries, for 1970–96. The econometric analysis reveals that external borrowing is positively and significantly related to capital flight, suggesting that to a large extent capital flight is debt-fueled. We estimate that for every dollar of external borrowing in the region, roughly 80 cents flowed back as capital flight in the same year. Capital flight also exhibits a high degree of persistence in the sense that past capital flight is correlated with current and future capital flight. The growth rate differential between the African country and its OECD trading partners is negatively related to capital flight. We also explore the effects of several other factors––inflation, fiscal policy indicators, the interest rate differential, exchange rate appreciation, financial development, and indicators of the political environment and governance. We discuss the implications of the results for debt relief and for policies aimed at preventing capital flight and attracting private capital held abroad.
The high level of external indebtedness is both a symptom and a cause of the poor economic performance in sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries in recent decades. In the 1990s, average debt service payments amounted to roughly 6.5% of national income in the 30 SSA countries discussed in this study. At the same time, these countries have experienced massive private outflows of funds, a phenomenon often described as “capital flight.”1 Recent estimates show that the region is a “net creditor” to the rest of the world in the sense that private assets held abroad as measured by accumulated capital flight exceed total liabilities as measured by the stock of debt (Boyce & Ndikumana, 2001). The existing evidence also indicates that compared to other developing regions, SSA has a larger share of private wealth held abroad (Collier, Hoeffler, & Pattillo, 2001). For these reasons, it is important to examine the causes of capital flight from the region. This study investigates the determinants of capital flight from 30 SSA countries for 1970–96. For this purpose, we use estimates of capital flight reported by Boyce and Ndikumana (2001) for 24 countries that are classified as severely indebted low-income countries (SILICs), plus comparable estimates for six other SSA countries.2 The estimates of capital flight are obtained using a modified version of the “residual” method, which is based on the difference between inflows of foreign exchange and the recorded uses of foreign exchange. Our econometric results indicate that foreign borrowing is positively and significantly related to capital flight, and that to a substantial extent capital flight is debt-fueled. Capital flight also exhibits a high degree of persistence, in that past capital flight is correlated with current and future capital flight. The growth rate differential between the African country and its OECD trading partners is negatively related to capital flight, as is an index of voice and accountability. These results have important implications for debt relief and for policies aimed at addressing the problem of capital flight from African countries. The use of foreign borrowing to finance the accumulation of private external assets raises questions as to the legal and moral legitimacy of the external debt––that is, its treatment as a public obligation as opposed to a private liability. Debt relief will bring sustainable benefits to African people only if it is accompanied by strategies designed to prevent a new cycle of external borrowing and capital flight in the post-relief period. These strategies must involve enforcing responsible lending practices on the part of creditors and transparent and accountable debt management on the part of African governments. At the same time, the success of African countries in preventing further capital flight and in attracting private capital held abroad will depend on their success in implementing policies that promote economic growth and a stable macroeconomic environment.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This paper has explored the causes of capital flight in SSA, a region that is still struggling with the debilitating effects of the debt crisis. Our findings indicate that external borrowing is the single most important determinant of capital flight. During 1970–96, roughly 80 cents on every dollar that flowed into the region from foreign loans flowed back out as capital flight in the same year, suggesting that the phenomenon of debt-fueled capital flight was widespread. In addition, every dollar added to the stock of external debt added roughly three cents to the annual capital flight in subsequent years, suggesting that outflows were exacerbated by the phenomenon of debt-driven capital flight. These findings imply that debt relief strategies will bring long-term benefits to African countries only if accompanied by measures to prevent a new cycle of external borrowing and capital flight. This will require substantial reforms on the part of both creditors and debtors to promote responsible lending and accountable debt management. Our results also indicate that past capital flight tends to persist over time, and provide fairly robust support for the propositions that capital flight is negatively related to the growth rate differential between the African country and its OECD trade partners, the volume of domestic credit to the private sector, and a political–governance index of voice and accountability. These findings suggest that capital flight from SSA can be reduced by improvements in these broader dimensions of economic performance and institutional reform, as well as by greater transparency and accountability in capital account transactions.