On the World Economic Elite
Economic elites have not received enough attention in the economic literature. The obvious reason is limited access to information. This paper seeks to contribute to contemporary knowledge on elites in two ways. First, it employs a new unique data set on the world economic elite covering 2002-2014 to develop a method of measuring the degree of elite circulation; second, it provides a theoretical explanation of the observed facts. The empirical finding is that the world economic elite is subject to a low degree of circulation. Despite increased globalization, liberalization, longterm economic growth, and the recent Great Recession, the core of the elite remains mostly unchanged. Our theory attempts to explain this fact by introducing the analytical distinction between market competition and elite competition, which is a kind of meta-competition. Thus,
the following relationship is derived from the theory: The low level of elite circulation, that is, the low meta-competition, underlies the oligopolistic market structures that we observe in the real world.
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