Working Paper
The 'Pull' and 'Push' Factors in North-South Private Capital Flows

Conceptual Issues and Empirical Estimates

This paper is an attempt to rectify some of the problems that characterize most earlier studies that seek to explain private capital flows to developing countries or, at least, to examine the subject from a different and complementary perspective. To accomplish this, we propose a model framework that approaches the issue from the perspective of a capital-exporting developed country and which also takes cognizance of developments in other industrialized countries that could be competing with developing countries for private capital flows. The model is operationalized and estimated with annual panel data over 1970-2000 for 19 capital-exporting developed countries. Specifically, we estimate equations for total private flows, FDI, total portfolio capital flows (PCF) and various categories of PCF. We also test for the effects of a number of factors, each of which has its own ‘push’ and ‘pull’ components. The specific explanatory factors are the level of per capita income, interest rate, economic growth, the prevailing phase of economic cycle, the degree of openness of the economy in the balance-of-payment capital account, macroeconomic imbalances, and external debt burden. The empirical findings confirm the posited effects of the ‘push’ and/or ‘pull’ component of each of the above factors.