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The Cupboard is Full: Public Finance for Public Services in the Global South


We are constantly told that there is no money for badly needed public services around the world. But who said the cupboard was bare? There is ample evidence that large pools of public monies exist for investment in public infrastructure, with public pension funds and sovereign wealth funds being two examples. Currently, these funds are being directed toward large-scale, capital-intensive, high-return projects aimed primarily at well-off urban residents and the private sector. Lessons from the financial crisis show that such funds could actually realize greater long-term returns from investment in public service provision while avoiding the politically controversial and contradictory practice of using public sector funds to support privatization. We make the case for using public pension funds and sovereign wealth funds for socially responsible investments in the global South, in support of essential public services.

This briefing note is based on in-depth research and analysis published as a longer Occasional Paper available here.

Ronnie D. Lipschutz and Sarah T. Romano
Publication Information: 
Briefing Note No.2
Publication Date: 
Publication Type: 
Briefing Note