Volatility and the welfare costs of financial market integration
The authors examine the effect of volatility on the costs and benefits of financial market integration. The authors use a basic framework that combines the costly state verification model and the contract enforceability approach. They assess the welfare effects of financial market integration by comparing welfare under financial market integration and comparing welfare under financial autarky and financial openness. Under financial openness, foreign banks, which have lower costs of intermediation and a lower markup rate, have free access to domestic capital markets. The analysis shows that financial integration may be welfare-reducing if world interest rates under openness are highly volatile. The authors extend the basic framework in various directions. They show that opening the economy to unrestricted inflows of capital, in particular, may magnify the welfare cost of existing distortion, such as congestion externalities or deposit insurance.
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