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Job talk: The Origins and Transformation of Capital Choices

Online Event
job talk
Friday, June 18, 2021, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Juergen Braunstein is a fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School where he works on the Geopolitics of Energy Project. His research focuses on the drivers as well as consequences of global energy transitions. His current book project, Global Energy Transition: The Making of Great Financial Powers (under contract with Cambridge University Press, UK), delves into the large infrastructure financing requirements during global energy transitions. Prior to this he coordinated the New Climate Economy Special Initiative on financing the urban transition at LSE Cities. Juergen is the author of Capital Choices: Sectoral Politics and the Variation of Sovereign Wealth (2019, Michigan University Press). He has a B.A. from the University of Vienna and a masters and doctorate from the London School of Economics.

The Origins and Transformation of Capital Choices

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The global financial institution landscape is entering a new phase that involves the following elements: the decarbonization of economic activities; the shift of the global economy’s center of gravity from the West to the East; and the emergence of new financial actors, notably large state owned investment funds known as sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). This presentation begins by pointing out that SWFs can differ considerably. The research question is: What accounts for the establishment of different types of SWFs across and within countries? Examining small open economies, this research argues that different state-society structures at the sectoral level (i.e., policy networks) are the core drivers responsible for SWF variation. This finding has relevance to other areas, such as explaining variation in green finance. For example, different state-society structures help to explain why we see such a great variance in green finance among the Gulf’s petroleum-exporting economies.