In This Review

Citizens’ Wealth: Why (and How) Sovereign Funds Should Be Managed by the People for the People
Citizens’ Wealth: Why (and How) Sovereign Funds Should Be Managed by the People for the People
By Angela Cummine
Yale University Press, 2016, 296 pp
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Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are proliferating; 35 were established during the past decade alone, roughly doubling the overall number. SWFs invest government funds (other than central bank reserves) in stocks, bonds, and other assets, usually but not always abroad. They also involve setting aside some government revenue—often from oil or gas sales—for future use. Such funds were pioneered by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in the 1950s but only gained prominence with the sharp oil price increases of the 1970s, when oil-producing countries were suddenly flooded with revenues. This informative book explores both the conceptual and the practical aspects of SWFs, providing insights into who owns them (publics or governments), who governs them, who determines the ethics guiding their investments, how they should distribute their earnings, how they might help reduce income inequality, and what unforeseen adverse contingencies should permit governments to draw them down.