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The Elephant In The Ground: Managing Oil And Sovereign Wealth

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  • Rick Van der Ploeg
  • Ton van den Bremer

Abstract

One of the most important developments in international finance and resource economics in the past twenty years is the rapid and widespread emergence of the $6 trillion sovereign wealth fund industry. Oil exporters typically ignore below-ground assets when allocating these funds, and ignore above-ground assets when extracting oil. We present a unified stylized framework for considering both. Subsoil oil should alter a fund’s portfolio through additional leverage and hedging. First-best spending should be a share of total wealth, and any unhedgeable volatility must be managed by precautionary savings. If oil prices are pro-cyclical, oil should be extracted faster than the Hotelling rule to generate a risk premium on oil wealth. Finally, we discuss how our analysis could improve the management of Norway’s fund in practice.

Suggested Citation

  • Rick Van der Ploeg & Ton van den Bremer, 2013. "The Elephant In The Ground: Managing Oil And Sovereign Wealth," OxCarre Working Papers 129, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:oxcrwp:129
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    1. Johannes Pfeiffer, 2017. "Fossil Resources and Climate Change – The Green Paradox and Resource Market Power Revisited in General Equilibrium," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 77, August.
    2. Anthony J. Venables & Samuel E. Wills, 2016. "Resource Funds: Stabilising, Parking, and Inter-generational Transfer," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 25(suppl_2), pages 20-40.
    3. Moutanabbir, Khouzeima & Noureldin, Diaa, 2020. "Optimal asset allocation and consumption rules for commodity-based sovereign wealth funds," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 708-730.
    4. van der Ploeg, Frederick, 2019. "Macro policy responses to natural resource windfalls and the crash in commodity prices," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 263-282.
    5. Rick Van der Ploeg, 2016. "Macro Policy Responses To Natural Resource Windfalls," OxCarre Working Papers 178, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
    6. Hjort, Ingrid, 2016. "Potential Climate Risks in Financial Markets: A Literature Overview," Memorandum 01/2016, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
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    8. van den Bremer, Ton S. & van der Ploeg, Frederick, 2016. "Saving Alberta's resource revenues: Role of intergenerational and liquidity funds," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 132-146.
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    10. Alfonso A. Irarrazabal & Lin Ma & Juan Carlos Parra-Alvarez, 2020. "Optimal Asset Allocation for Commodity Sovereign Wealth Funds," CREATES Research Papers 2020-10, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    11. Rick Van der Ploeg & Ton van den Bremer, 2016. "Saving Alberta’s Resource Revenues:," OxCarre Working Papers 179, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
    12. Arouri, Mohamed & Boubaker, Sabri & Grais, Wafik & Grira, Jocelyn, 2018. "Rationality or politics? The color of black gold money," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 62-76.
    13. K.S.Reddy, 2019. "Pot the ball? Sovereign wealth funds’ outward FDI in times of global financial market turbulence: A yield institutions-based view," Central Bank Review, Research and Monetary Policy Department, Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey, vol. 19(4), pages 129-139.
    14. Martinez-Oviedo, Raul & Medda, Francesca, 2017. "Assessing the effects of adding timberland and farmland into resource-based Sovereign Wealth Fund portfolios," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 24-40.
    15. Mohn, Klaus, 2015. "Resource revenue management and wealth neutrality," UiS Working Papers in Economics and Finance 2015/2, University of Stavanger.
    16. AlKathiri, Nader & Atalla, Tarek N. & Murphy, Frederic & Pierru, Axel, 2020. "Optimal policies for managing oil revenue stabilization funds: An illustration using Saudi Arabia," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
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    21. Irarrazabal, Alfonso A. & Ma, Lin, 2018. "Optimal Asset Allocation for Commodity Sovereign Wealth Funds," Working Paper Series 11-2018, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, School of Economics and Business.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    oil revenue; portfolio allocation; sovereign wealth fund; leverage; hedging; optimal extraction; prudence; risk aversion;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • F65 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Finance
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    • Q33 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Resource Booms (Dutch Disease)

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