Why India choked when Lehman broke

Ila Patnaik
Ajay Shah
Working Paper 2010-63
JEL codes: 
India has an elaborate system of capital controls which impede cap- ital mobility and particularly short-term debt. Yet, when the global money market fell into turmoil after the bankruptcy of Lehman Broth- ers on 13/14 September 2008, the Indian money market immediately experienced considerable stress, and the operating procedures of mon- etary policy broke down. We suggest that Indian multinationals were using the global money market and were short of dollars on 15 Septem- ber. They borrowed in India and took capital out of the country. We make three predictions that follow from this hypothesis, and _nd that the evidence matches these predictions. This suggests an important role for Indian multinationals in India's evolution towards de facto convertibility.