First Advisor

Birol Yesilada

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Affairs and Policy


Public Affairs and Policy




Capital flows, Domestic savings, Political performance, Capital movements, Economic development, Globalization -- Economic aspects



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 116 p.) : ill. (some col.)


This research explores the impact of various forms of capital flows on economic growth and development for a group of 120 countries from 1980-2007. Traditional growth literature as well as the textbook theory of economic growth looks at capital flows as playing a vital role in fostering economic growth and development. The textbook theories, as well as the existing approaches to study the capital flows and economic development connection, use growth and development interchangeably. This analysis, examines the consequences of different capital flows on growth and development separately because the determinants of growth may not be the same as the determinants of development. This distinction becomes even more applicable when observing the cases of countries that have experienced economic growth during certain periods but were unable to translate the increase in economic growth to development. To investigate the impact of various forms of capital flows, this dissertation utilizes life expectancy in addition to economic growth, as a measure of development. The results from using the two measures show that capital flows have dissimilar impact on life expectancy as well as economic growth. The central proposition of this dissertation is that not all forms of capital flows are created equal. Furthermore, countries at different levels of development may differ in their absorptive capacity of the capital. Thus, the ability of a country to harness capital for development depends upon its absorptive capacity, presence of domestic resources and the capabilities of national governments. This study therefore not only looks at the role played by various forms of capital flows on growth and development, but also takes into account the role of political performance of national governments that can play an important role in maximizing the efficiency of the investments. To investigate what kinds of flows are beneficial at different levels of development, this analysis further divides the dataset into three samples of developed countries, emerging markets and less developed countries. The results indicate that the impact of different capital flows varies across the three subsamples. By categorizing capital flows into categories of international capital flows, domestic capital, and remittances, this research also finds that the type of investment, as well as the source of investment (foreign vs. domestic), indeed does matter. The analysis suggests that the key to harnessing capital for development lies with capable governments and efficient use of domestic resources. In absence of capable governments, influx of foreign capital flows can manifest itself in ways that are harmful to the progress of developing societies.


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Hatfield School of Government. Division of Public Administration

Persistent Identifier