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Business Networking for Society? The Impact of Business Elite Networks on Income Inequality

26 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2017  

Julián Cárdenas

Freie Universität Berlin

Date Written: January 19, 2017


Although the cohesion of business elites has been associated with wealth concentration, few studies have in-depth investigated the role of business elite networks in macro-social issues such social inequality. On the one hand, the literature on business elite networks has focused on describing and explaining the social organization of elites, rather than on analyzing the impacts these networks have on income inequality. On the other hand, studies on the determinant factors of economic inequality have either blamed business elites for inequity or have ignored them.

This research aims to find out whether business elite networks impact income inequality in several countries. To achieve this goal, this paper:

1) analyzes and compares business elite networks through interlocking directorates with the indicators of income inequality in five Latin American countries, and

2) proposes a relational model which shows the variables and mechanisms that connect business elite networks and income inequality.

The results show that where business elite networks were more cohesive and had more trade internationalization, social protection was higher and more efficient, and income inequality levels were lower. Business networking can have an “equalizing” effect on society.

Keywords: business elite networks, business elites, income inequality, interlocking directorates, Latin America

JEL Classification: D85

Suggested Citation

Cárdenas, Julián, Business Networking for Society? The Impact of Business Elite Networks on Income Inequality (January 19, 2017). Available at SSRN:

Julián Cárdenas (Contact Author)

Freie Universität Berlin ( email )

Lateinamerika Institut
Boltzmannstr. 1
Berlin, 14195

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