Peripherical Financialization and Premature Deindustrialization: A Theory and the Case of Brazil (2003-2015)

By José Luis Oreiro, Carmem Aparecida Feijó, Lionelo Franco Punzo, João Pedro Heringer Machado

PKES Working Paper 2027

February 2021

The main objective of this paper is to discuss the concept of financialization in developing economies, arguing that the broad definition of financialization - understood as a growing role of motivations, markets and financial institutions in the operation of domestic and international economies – does not take into consideration important features of those economies, such as the hierarchy of currencies and the subordination to the principles of the so-called Washington Consensus. The latter imposed the adoption of a foreign savings-driven growth model, which mostly applied to Latin American countries. Hence, the financialization process in LDCs will be denominated peripherical financialization, since it is associated with dependence upon capital inflows from developed countries and with the reduction in the autonomy of their macroeconomic policies, even within flexible exchange rate regimes. Attraction of capital inflows to countries with a subordinate position in international financial markets, requires high interest rate differentials which have as side effect a trend to the overvaluation of real exchange rates. This creates a trap, high interest rates with an associated overvalued exchange rate. This trap reduces policy space, turning procyclical even fiscal policy. Moreover, the overvaluation of real exchange rate reduces price competitiveness of the manufacturing industry, becoming the main drive toward these countries’ premature deindustrialization. It will be shown that the macroeconomic performance of the Brazilian economy in the period 2003-2015 fits almost perfectly this model of peripherical financialization.

Keywords: Financialization, Premature Deindustrialization, high interest rate-overvalued exchange rate trap

JEL classification: O11 O14 O16