Essays on Capital Flows, Crises and Economic Performance

  • Abdilahi Ali

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis explores three important factors that have been central to the pursuit of economic development in developing countries, particularly those in Africa. These are capital flows, economic integration and financial crises. Chapter 1 examines the causes and consequences of capital flight in African countries. Building on standard portfolio choice model, the study links the phenomenon of capital flight to the domestic investment climate (broadly defined) and shows that African agents move their portfolios abroad as a result of a deteriorating domestic investment climate where the risk-adjusted rate of return is unfavourable. The results presented suggest that economic risk, policy distortions and the poor profitability of African investments explain the variation in capital flight. In addition, employing a PVAR and its corresponding impulse responses, the chapter shows that capital flight shocks worsen economic performance. Chapter 2 explores the (independent) effects of crises and openness on a large sample of African countries using dynamic panel techniques. Focusing on sudden stops, currency, twin and sovereign debt crises, the chapter shows that economic crises are associated with growth collapses in Africa. In contrast, economic openness is found to be beneficial to growth. More importantly, we find that, consistent with standard Mundell-Flemming type models and sticky-price open economy models, greater openness to trade and financial flows mitigates the adverse effects of crises. In the final chapter, we examine whether capital flows such as FDI, foreign aid and migrant remittances crowd-in or crowd-out domestic investment in developing countries. Applying recently developed panel cointegration techniques which can handle cross-sectional heterogeneity, serial correlation and endogeneity, we find that FDI and remittances have a positive and significant effect on domestic investment in the long-run while aid tends to act as a substitute for investment. We also conduct panel Granger causality analysis and find that the effect of FDI on investment is both transitory as well as permanent. That is, it tends to crowd-in domestic investment both in the short-run and in the long-run. We do not find any causal links between foreign aid and investment. The results show that, while remittances do not have causal effects on investment in the short-run, there is a bidirectional (causal) relationship between the two in the long-run.
Date of Award1 Aug 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorKatsushi Imai (Supervisor)


  • Financial Crises, Capital Flight, Economic Integration, African Economies, FDI, Aid, Remittances

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