By Flavia Corneli
We show that, in a two-country model where the two economies differ in their level of financial market development and initial capital endowment, financial integration has sizeable transitory as well as permanent effects. We confirm that, consistent with the Lucas paradox, financial integration in the medium term can reduce capital accumulation and increase savings in the financially less developed country, characterized by domestic capital market distortions, due to a higher risk premium in production activities. In the long run, however, integration produces higher levels of capital than in the autarky steady state. The opposite happens to the financially advanced economy, where integration initially boosts consumption and leads to a lower saving rate, and in the long run causes a reduction in capital compared with the autarky steady state. Two forces drive these results: precautionary saving and the propensity to move resources from risky capital to safe assets until the risk-adjusted return on capital equalizes the risk-free interest rate; assuming a constant relative risk aversion (CRRA) utility function, these forces are both decreasing in wealth.
The path to development is not uniform. This paper shows nicely the starting point matters, depending on the level of financial development and financial integration. This can also explain some of the shorter term difficulties that some economies suffered along their path.