AbstractsPolitical Science


This paper argues that Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) has been largely shielded from the short-termism of the democratic debate. Besides the Fund’s ethical guidelines, it seems that the second most central side effect of being embedded in the state apparatus, is that the Fund’s development pattern – both in terms of its organization and investment strategy – has been very gradual and deliberate. This is due to primarily three factors. First, the complex nature of the subject matter has contributed to isolate the Fund from mounting public pressure. Secondly, the Ministry of Finance has internalized the policy responses from Parliament, by being gradual and deliberate when developing the Fund’s investment strategy, fostering consensus on the management of the Fund. These traits make the Fund more conservative than its size and infinite investment horizon would suggest. Thirdly, the Fund’s financial performance has for the most part been a success, making it easier for Parliament to maintain a consensus on its investment strategy and governance structure, and to maintain a consensual relationship with the Ministry of Finance. These arguments are supported by qualitative data from interviews with central fund actors, official documents from the Ministry, Parliament, and Norges Bank, and an analysis of the domestic media coverage of the Fund. Based on the findings in the paper, I will encourage future case studies on SWFs to employ a domestic political-administrative approach. SWFs represent new vehicles whereby nation states interact with the sphere of global finance. Both the nature and outcome of this meeting are likely to be colored by a host of organizational and contextual variables, and it is this assertion that calls for an organizational approach.