Financial Instability and Foreign Direct Investment
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
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Reason for embargo
Will publish part(s) of the thesis in separate publications.
Hyman Minsky’s Financial Instability Hypothesis is used to construct two different indices for financial instability: a long-term index (Long Term Financial Instability) and a short-term index (Short Term Financial Instability). The former focuses on the underlying fragility of financial structures of units in the economy while the latter focuses on more immediate developments and manages to follow turmoil – “a financial crisis” – in the economy. The interplay of the indices with each other, with economic growth and with Foreign Direct Investment, both in general and in the financial industry, is probed. In short, we find that long term financial stability, i.e. secure financial structures in the economy or a low level of Long Term Financial Instability, is sacrificed for maintaining short term financial stability. However, more Long Term Financial Instability is associated, as Minsky expected, with more fluctuations in Short Term Financial Instability: market turmoil is more common the more fragile underlying financial structures of units in the economy are. This signals that markets are ruled by short-termism. Economic growth is harmed by Short Term Financial Instability but the effects of Long Term Financial Instability are weaker. The common expectation that FDI activities strengthen financial stability is not confirmed. The relationship found hints rather in the opposite direction: FDI activities seem to cause financial instability. Based on the those investigations and a further empirical work using data from Iceland, Leigh Harkness’s Optimum Exchange Rate System (OERS) is developed further with the intention of solving “The Policy Problem” as described by Minsky. Insights from control theory are used. The OERS, along with public debt management as carried out by Keynes, is argued to have the ability to keep economic activity in the state of a permanent “quasi-boom”. The policy implications are that the OERS should be considered as a monetary policy as it permits a free flow of capital, thereby allowing economies to reap the possible positive benefits of foreign direct investment, while still conserving financial stability.
PhD in Economics