The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Anke Hoeffler, Catherine Pattillo, and Paul Collier
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
This paper sets flight capital in the context of portfolio choice, focusing upon the proportion of private wealth that is held abroad. There are large regional differences in this proportion, ranging from 5 percent in South Asia to 40 percent in Africa. We explain cross-country differences in portfolio choice by variables that proxy differences in the risk-adjusted rate of return on capital. We apply the results to four policy questions: how the East Asian crisis affected domestic capital outflows; herd effects; the effect of the IMF-World Bank debt relief initiative for heavily-indebted poor countries (HIPC) on capital repatriation; and why so much of Africa’s private wealth is held outside the continent.