From natural resources to physical infrastructure, public assets represent a shared inheritance. JFI’s Social Wealth initiative seeks to develop financial infrastructure to transform these assets into long-term portfolios that can facilitate the wider distribution of returns to capital, endow critical social programs, and catalyze inclusive economic development. Drawing on resources from across the public, private, and academic spheres, we build tools, conduct basic and applied research, convene scholars and practitioners, and develop partnerships. Our aim is to aid the management of social wealth funds, drive the democratization of finance, and strengthen the solidarity economy.
Analytics and Research
Leveraging JFI’s cross-initiative expertise in analytics and capital structuring, we conduct applied research on the institutionalization and management of public funds, the financing of social protection, and the design of mechanisms for the democratization of finance and the wider distribution of its positive returns. Examples of this work include a study of financing and infrastructural options to support cash transfers and economic development in Compton, California, as well as our ongoing collaboration with UFF and the Treasury of Niterói, Brazil to develop tools and resources for the newly created Fundo de Equalização da Receita (Budget Stabilization Fund), including stochastic modeling software for portfolio analysis and risk management.
If you’re interested in working with us, email email@example.com.
Sovereign Wealth Funds
Sovereign wealth funds are powerful tools to convert temporary financial windfalls into permanent foundations for economic development and shared prosperity. When capitalized by natural resource royalties, moreover, they can facilitate investment in economic diversification to help counterbalance the deleterious effects of the so-called “resource curse.”
While national-level sovereign wealth funds like those of Norway and Kuwait have earned international renown, there is significant – and underexploited – potential at the subnational level as well. The Texas Permanent School Fund, created in 1854 as the earliest modern sovereign wealth fund, has leveraged the proceeds of public land sales and mineral rents to dramatically reduce cost of capital for the state’s public schools, while the Alaska Permanent Fund has paid a citizens’ dividend annually since 1982. Inspired by these examples, several Brazilian states and municipalities have established their own funds using royalty income from pre-salt oil drilling in the Santos Basin. Together with researchers from JFI and the Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF) in Niterói, Brazil, these funds are currently working to build a multilateral forum to share best practices, develop common management strategies, and establish a coherent regulatory framework for subnational SWFs.
The Solidarity Economy
The Maricá Basic Income Evaluation is a multifaceted examination of one of the most ambitious social policy experiments in the world: the attempt to transform the economy of Maricá, Brazil through a suite of cash transfer and development programs rooted in the principles of the solidarity economy. These programs, which include free public transportation, subsidies for university education, and savings accounts for public school students, are centered on a complementary currency, the mumbuca, administered by a publicly supported community bank and spendable only in Maricá.
A collaboration between researchers in JFI’s Guaranteed Income and Social Wealth initiatives and at the Universidade Federal Fluminense, the Maricá Basic Income Evaluation includes a mixed methods evaluation of the basic income program as well as components to understand institutional design, community banking, and the circulation of the mumbuca. Learn more about the study and keep abreast of its findings here.
Social Wealth Seminar
JFI’s Social Wealth Seminar is an ongoing virtual forum exploring strategies to manage public assets and resources in service of society, in the United States and across the world. The seminar seeks to foster collaboration among scholars, policy officials, and advocates at the point where public finance meets social protection. Recordings of past sessions, together with accompanying readings, can be found here. To join our mailing list, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Those interested in presenting can contact email@example.com.
- Forum of Brazilian Sovereign Wealth Funds
- Fundo de Equalização da Receita, Niterói, Brazil
- Fundo Soberano do Estado do Espírito Santo, Brazil
- Fundo Soberano de Maricá, Brazil
- Fundo Soberano Municipal, Ilhabela, Brazil
- The Compton Pledge, Compton, California
- Center for the Study of Inequality and Development, Universidade Federal Fluminense
- Analytics Solutions Center, Utah State University
- Instituto Darcy Ribeiro, Maricá, Brazil
- Fundação Euclides da Cunha, Niterói, Brazil
- OPPEN Social, Vitória, Brazil
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