Discussion paper

DP902 International Capital Mobility in the 1990s

This paper surveys the performance of international capital markets and the literature on measuring international capital mobility. Three main functions of a globally integrated and efficient world capital market provide focal points for the analysis. First, asset-price arbitrage ensures that people in different countries can pool risks to their lifetime consumption profiles. Third, new saving, regardless of its country of origin, is allocated toward the world's most productive investment opportunities. The paper evaluates the international capital market's performance of these three roles by studying data on correlations, international portfolio diversification, and the relations between national saving and domestic investment rates. The conclusion is that while international capital mobility has increased markedly over the last two decades, international capital movements remain less free than intranational movements, even among the industrial countries.


Obstfeld, M (1994), ‘DP902 International Capital Mobility in the 1990s‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 902. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp902