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Financial Integration And Foreign Banks In Latin America: Do They Amplify External Financial Shocks?

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Executive Summary

This paper explores the impact of international financial integration on credit markets in Latin America. Using a cross-country dataset covering 17 Latin American countries between 1996 and 2008, the authors find that financial integration amplifies the impact of international financial shocks on aggregate credit and interest-rate fluctuations. Despite this pernicious effect, the net impact of integration on deepening credit markets is positive and dominates for the large majority of states of nature. The paper also uses a detailed bank-level dataset covering more than 500 banks in Latin America for a similar time period to explore the role of financial integration - captured through the participation of foreign banks - in propagating external shocks.

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