Capital choices: sectoral politics and variation of sovereign wealth by Juergen Braunstein, Ann Arbor, US, University of Michigan Press, 2019, 216 pp., $70 (hardback), ISBN: 978-0-472-13132-7; $54.95 (ebook), ISBN: 978-0-472-12518-0

Adam Dixon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article reviewAcademic

1 Citation (Web of Science)


A defining feature of the global political economy, and the Eurasian region in particular, is the increasing growth of state capital. State-owned enterprises are now larger than the largest privately owned transnational corporation. For example, in the 2018 Fortune Global 500, three of the top five are Chinese SOEs (State Grid, Sinopec Group, and China National Petroleum Corporation). In the world of finance, sovereign wealth funds and other types of state-controlled investment fund are making major inroads in global financial markets, with the likes of Norway’s Global Pension Fund-Global holding more than 1 USD trillion in assets. Indeed, from Timor-Leste to Singapore, and Russia to Ireland, states of all political stripes and levels of economic development have already or are establishing sovereign funds of various policy functions, from investing foreign exchange reserves in higher-yielding assets to strategic investment funds geared toward fostering national industrial policy and regional development.

What is remarkable about the rise of sovereign funds is how much variation there is in what they do, and why they exist in the first place. There is no simple formula to explain why countries with similar political economy and macroeconomic characteristics establish different types of sovereign fund, or why some countries with no economic justification (e.g. managing surplus forex reserves) to establish a fund do so anyways. Although there are a number of contributions unpacking the rise and implications of sovereign wealth funds, Juergen Braunstein in Capital Choices brings a unique contribution to these debates
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-243
Number of pages3
JournalEurasian Geography and Economics
Issue number2
Early online dateMar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2021

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