The Legitimacy and Governance of Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund: The Ethics of Global Investment
Gordon L. Clark
Oxford University - Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment
Ashby H. B. Monk
Stanford University - Global Projects Center
September 15, 2009
The Norwegian Government Pension Fund-Global is one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds and is one of the most transparent institutions of its kind. It also has an explicit mission aimed at integrating long-term investment with a two-sided ethical commitment: to corporate engagement according to accepted global principles of best-practice corporate governance, and to ensuring that the fund is not associated with companies that pose a risk to global social and environmental justice. As such, the Norwegian fund has an ethical mandate — something remarkable when compared to other sovereign wealth funds. In this paper, we argue that this mission is best understood in terms of procedural rather than substantive justice. Our argument is sustained by reference to recent work on the nature of state authority and legitimacy in democratic societies, the logic of institutional governance, and the functional integration of decision-making. The paper focuses on the nature and significance of the recommendations from the advisory Council of Ethics and the exercise of powers related to standards of corporate governance. Implications are drawn for understanding the functional performance of the fund in the context of changing global financial markets.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 35
Keywords: resource wealth, Norway, democracy, ethics, investment, sovereign wealth fund
JEL Classification: G23, G24, L12
Date posted: September 18, 2009 ; Last revised: February 27, 2010
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