Elite Quality Report 2021: Country Scores and Global Rankings

324 Pages Posted: 14 May 2021 Last revised: 16 Apr 2022

See all articles by Tomas Casas

Tomas Casas

University of St. Gallen - SoM: School of Management

Guido Cozzi

University of St. Gallen

Date Written: May 13, 2021


The 2021 Elite Quality Index (EQx2021) is a global ranking of countries built on the notion of ‘elite quality’. Elite quality is a macro-level feature of the political economy that measures the value creation aggregate of all elite business models. Elites are dominant coalitions with the strongest capacity for coordination in societies and operate the highest impact business models. Elite business models can either create sustainable value or extract value from others, primarily from non-elites (i.e., through rent-seeking). Value creation activities include innovation, trade or production; value extraction includes barriers, discrimination or monopolies. The higher the value creation of elite business models on aggregate, the higher the quality of the national elite system. The EQx2021 uses data from 107 indicators to establish comparative elite quality rankings for 151 countries. The EQx Country Scores and Global Rankings result from a rich conceptual architecture designed to offer original analysis and interpretation. This edited work includes commentaries on 21 countries (from Austria to the United States) and six discussions of specific phenomena in the political economy (from diversity and inclusion to global trade). The reader will identify two perspectives in these analyses. The first connects the dots and provides a bird’s-eye view of a particular country’s performance weaving specific indicator results into a comprehensive story of a country’s political economy. The second offers a more abstract analytical perspective, highlighting different levels of connectivity between, for example, power, political value and creative destruction and then illustrates the linkages with specific indicators (such as those related to COVID-19). Both the ‘bird’s-eye view’ and the ‘high abstraction’ perspectives provide policy recommendations, unique insights into elites, and glimpses into the futures of a diverse range of countries and regions, both leaders and laggards. Beyond providing rich insights for academia, the EQx2021 also aims to impact business leaders and policymakers to further sustainable value creation. The measurement of each country’s elite quality reflects both the sustainability of their elite business models and the fundamental sustainability of entire societies.

Keywords: index, elites, elite quality, institutions, value creation, value extraction, rent seeking, crony capitalism, political economy, global rankings, international business

JEL Classification: D72, F50, P16, P48

Suggested Citation

Casas, Tomas and Cozzi, Guido, Elite Quality Report 2021: Country Scores and Global Rankings (May 13, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3845376 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3845376

Tomas Casas (Contact Author)

University of St. Gallen - SoM: School of Management ( email )

Dufourstrasse 40a
St. Gallen, CH-9000

Guido Cozzi

University of St. Gallen ( email )

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