Economic Policy Review

Asia Crisis Postmortem: Where Did the Money Go and Did the United States Benefit?

September 2000Volume 6, Number 3
JEL classification: F30, F32, F43

Authors: Eric van Wincoop and Kei-Mu Yi

The Asia crisis was originally expected to affect the U.S. economy adversely, mainly through reduced exports to, and increased imports from, the crisis countries. However, U.S. GDP growth in 1998, at 4.3 percent, was surprisingly strong. This article examines the effect of the crisis on the U.S. economy, using a quantitative approach that focuses on capital outflows from Asia. It finds that banks were the primary mechanism by which the funds left Asia, and that these funds did not flow directly to the United States. Rather, they went first to offshore banking centers and then to European banks. In addition, the article uses an equilibrium framework to calculate the Asian capital outflows’ impact on U.S. GDP. It finds that the overall impact was positive but small.

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