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Modernity, Imitation, and Performance: Sovereign Funds in the Gulf

Gordon L. Clark

Oxford University - Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment

Ashby H. B. Monk

Stanford University - Global Projects Center

March 2, 2011

Whereas debate about sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) often focuses upon the global significance of their investment strategies, these institutions are also emblematic of the new global order of financial capitalism. SWFs are a mechanism for states to advance their interests through global financial markets and are a switch point for the translation of resource assets into financial assets in global markets. Yet, realising the promise of SWFs is not easy. The form and functions of these institutions are typically conceived in Western terms, so the necessary infrastructure for their effective performance may not exist in non-Western jurisdictions. Nonetheless, these funds have grown increasingly popular throughout the world. As such, this paper examines the process of SWF adoption in non-Western jurisdictions, and, in particular, SWFs’ recent rise in popularity amongst the Gulf States. These countries are particularly interesting as they face a variety of challenges due to institutional contradictions between the norms of Western finance and the inherited traditions of the Gulf. While Gulf SWFs may be limited in their effectiveness, these funds still serve as an important symbol for the region, representing a formal gesture towards ‘modernity’ in the context of nation-states’ inherited traditions.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 18

Keywords: Sovereign Wealth Funds, Gulf States, Modernity, Finance, Form, Function

JEL Classification: G18, Q32, O16, O53

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Date posted: March 4, 2011 ; Last revised: March 13, 2012

Suggested Citation

Clark, Gordon L. and Monk, Ashby H. B., Modernity, Imitation, and Performance: Sovereign Funds in the Gulf (March 2, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1775353 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1775353

Contact Information

Gordon L. Clark
Oxford University - Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment ( email )
South Parks Road
Oxford, OX1 3QY
United Kingdom
+44 1865 285197 (Phone)
+44 1865 285073 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.geog.ox.ac.uk/staff/glclark.html
Ashby H. B. Monk (Contact Author)
Stanford University - Global Projects Center ( email )
United States
Feedback to SSRN

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