More Layers than an Onion: Looking for a Definition of Sovereign Wealth Funds
SovereigNET Research Papers
37 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2014 Last revised: 19 Feb 2014
Date Written: June 1, 2013
We analyze definitions used by researchers about a single concept: Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF). It is still a matter of recent controversy and debate. We place these definitions into one of eleven categories. The results show full agreement (what we have called ‘the core’) for just two characteristics: SWFs are owned by governments and they are investment funds. Beyond the core, there are three layers commanding general consensus: SWFs are (1) international investors; (2) without explicit pension liabilities; (3) determined by the source of funding. But the debate remains open. The dynamic nature of SWFs, morphing institutions in a continuous evolution led us to conclude that there is no definition capturing the essence of these "new" instruments of state intervention.
Keywords: sovereign wealth funds, state capitalism, pension funds
JEL Classification: G15, G23, G24, G32, G38, F39, K33, E62, E63
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation