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'Americans Just Work Harder' Than Europeans, Says the CEO of Norges Bank, the World's Largest Wealth Fund About half of the fund's equities are invested in American companies.

By Sherin Shibu

Key Takeaways

  • Nicolai Tangen, the CEO of Norway's $1.6 trillion oil fund, Norges Bank, said that the fund would “stay invested in America” and that “Americans just work harder.”
  • About half of its equities are invested in the U.S.

The world's largest wealth fund has more than half of its equities invested in the U.S. and intends to stay invested.

The reason? "Americans just work harder," said Nicolai Tangen, CEO of Norway's $1.6 trillion oil fund Norges Bank.

Tangen told The Financial Times on Wednesday that the fund is heavily invested in American businesses because there's a different business mindset and work ethic in the U.S.

"You go bust in America, you get another chance," Tangen told the FT. "In Europe, you're dead."

Nicolai Tangen, chief executive officer of Norges Bank. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

"I should be careful about talking about work-life balance, but the Americans just work harder," he said. Tangen also noted that Norges Bank would "stay invested" in American companies for the long term.

Related: Samsung Makes 6-Day Workweeks Mandatory for Executives, Company Enters 'Emergency Mode'

U.S. workers do clock in longer hours than employees in Norway, where Norges Bank is based. According to the latest data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the average number of hours worked annually in the U.S. was 1,811 in 2022, nearly 400 hours more than Norway's 1,425 average hours worked over the same period.

U.S. employees also outworked employees from the U.K., France, Germany, Ireland, and many other countries, veering higher than the overall average.

But working longer hours might not be something to boast about. A 2021 study from the World Health Organization and the International Labor Organization showed that working long hours could impact long-term health — and pose more of a danger than occupational hazards.

The study found that working more than 55 hours per week led to a 35% higher risk of stroke and a 17% higher risk of heart disease.

Related: Elon Musk Slams Twitter Employees With Ultimatum: Prepare to Work 'Extremely Hardcore' or Leave by Thursday

Moreover, working extra hours may not lead to increased output: A University of California-Berkeley study conducted over five years found that job performance tends to plateau after reaching a 50-hour workweek threshold.

"Think about the profound implication of these findings: the whole entire premise of the world's work ethic—that harder work equates to better results—is basically wrong," the study's author wrote.

Tangen also noted in the FT interview that American companies are creating and growing technology quicker than their European counterparts, a trend he called "worrisome."

Heightened innovation could be a byproduct of longer hours or other factors, like U.S. culture, its population, and the systems it has in place to support innovation.

Related: Goldman Sachs CIO Says Coders Should Take Philosophy Classes — Here's Why

Sherin Shibu

Entrepreneur Staff

News Reporter

Sherin Shibu is a business news reporter at Entrepreneur.com. She previously worked for PCMag, Business Insider, The Messenger, and ZDNET as a reporter and copyeditor. Her areas of coverage encompass tech, business, strategy, finance, and even space. She is a Columbia University graduate.

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