Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Discussion Paper Series in Economics,
Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics

No 19/2012: Pension Funds, Sovereign-wealth Funds and Intergenerational Justice.

Alexander W. Cappelen () and Runa Urheim
Additional contact information
Alexander W. Cappelen: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: NHH , Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway
Runa Urheim: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: Central Bank of Norway, Oslo

Abstract: Pension funds and sovereign-wealth funds own a large and increasing fraction of the shares in publicly traded companies in the OECD area. These funds typically have a very long time horizon on their investments, as well as highly diversified portfolios. These features imply that the interests of these funds on important issues are aligned with the interest of future generations because the longterm return on a highly diversified portfolio will depend on the degree to which the development of the world economy is sustainable. It is, therefore, in the enlightened self-interest of these investors to use their shareholder rights so as to protect the interest of future generations. The paper explores the arguments for a more active corporate governance policy among pension funds and sovereign-wealth funds and discusses the obstacles to such policies.

Keywords: Pension funds; sovereign funds; future generations; corporate governance; shareholder. democracy.

JEL-codes: G20; G34

7 pages, September 27, 2012

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