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Executive Elites

  • Luca Verzichelli
Chapter

Abstract

After a short review of studies of executive elites in the classics of political sociology and political science, this chapter provides a comprehensive assessment of three main aspects of the research literature: results achieved by scholars working on the process of top elite formation, focusing on the causes and consequences of selection (and de-selection) of ministers from a comparative perspective; the importance of executive appointments as a fundamental “payoff” of democratic governance, whereby executive spoils can be considered as an important stake in the game of distribution among parties (the case of coalition governance) or those aspiring to the role of national political leader; and the outcomes of recent studies on the behaviors of executive elites. Contributions inspired by different conceptual frameworks, ranging from the party-government to the principal-agent framework, are illustrated. Problems facing executive elites today are examined in light of current challenges to representative democracy and “anti-political” rhetoric.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luca Verzichelli
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SienaSienaItaly

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