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Why are corporate elites interconnected by cohesive networks in some countries, and not in others? Cross-national and transnational analysis of corporate elite networks in Latin America

Principal Investigator:
Dec 02, 2013 — Nov 30, 2017

Corporate elites are interconnected by networks, which are the result of holding several board positions (interlocking directorates) and holding stocks in several companies (interlocking ownership). Research on corporate elite networks has focused on North America, Europe and to a lesser extent on Asian economies. These studies have shown different network configurations across nations: cohesive networks in e.g., Italy and France, and dispersed networks in e.g., United Kingdom and Japan. Research carried out by Windolf (2002) and the applicant of this project (Cárdenas 2012a) showed that cohesive and dispersed networks are produced by different institutional contexts, which correspond to varieties of capitalism. However, this hypothesis seems not to fit in Latin America since institutional context (or capitalism) is similar (Phillips, 2004; Schneider, 2009), but corporate elite networks differ between countries, e.g. cohesive network in Chile and dispersed in Argentina (Paredes 2011; Salvaj and Lluch 2012). This project will analyze, compare and explain the corporate elite networks formed by board and ownership interlocks across Latin American economies and on an international-regional level in order to comprehend why corporate elites are interconnected by cohesive networks in some countries, and by dispersed networks in others. This project will contribute to theoretical debates on: corporate elite cohesion, ties between political and corporate elites, economic organization (or variety of capitalism) in Latin America, and the emergence of a transnational corporate elite in Latin America. At the methodological level, the project will employ social network analysis to examine network configuration, and fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis and exponential random graph models to analyze the factors that influence network configuration. It is expected to foster the interest of students and researchers in Latin American economic elites by disseminating results of the project and sharing the collected data.

(to the project)