This paper examines how the 1990s capital account liberalization policy trend affected international capital flows, and tests a new hypothesis that the depth and efficiency of the domestic financial system impacts the efficacy of capital account policy. The paper exploits a recently published IMF database on financial development that spans the period 1980-2014 and includes both developing and developed countries. The results confirm that policy on average does not have a significant effect on gross capital flows, when controlling for other factors. I also find no effect on flows disaggregated by type and direction. However, interacting capital account policy and financial development, I do find that for financially developed countries, policy has the expected effect - policy openness leads to capital flows. The implication is that the effectiveness of capital account liberalization requires developing the domestic financial system.
financial globalization financial integration financial development capital flows capital control measures