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Elites and their formation have become of increasing public concern and research interest in recent years. The lessons from such research can be made more generalizable if a measure of elite formation could be developed that is comparable across countries. But, the nature of elite formation renders this a complex task. Nevertheless, in this paper, by building upon measures employed in other fields, such as industrial economics, we construct indices that facilitate the comparison of elite formation across countries. We illustrate this through a comparison of the schooling of Irish and British cabinet ministers.
Electronic copy available at:
Brendan K. O’Rourke,
Dublin Institute of
Aungier Street,
Dublin 2
John Hogan,
Dublin Institute of
Aungier Street,
Dublin 2
Paul F. Donnelly,
Dublin Institute of
Aungier Street,
Dublin 2
Elites and their formation have become of increasing public concern and research
interest in recent years. The lessons from such research can be made more
generalizable if a measure of elite formation could be developed that is comparable
across countries. But, the nature of elite formation renders this a complex task.
Nevertheless, in this paper, by building upon measures employed in other fields, such
as industrial economics, we construct indices that facilitate the comparison of elite
formation across countries. We illustrate this through a comparison of the schooling
of Irish and British cabinet ministers.
Keywords: cabinet ministers; concentration; elites; elite formation; Ireland; schools;
United Kingdom (UK).
Electronic copy available at:
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Although the origins of the global economic crisis have been blamed on easy
availability of credit, sub-prime lending, deregulation, and incorrect pricing of risk
(Blundell-Wignall and Atkinson, 2009; Calomiris, 2009; Tobias and Shin, 2010; von
Peter, 2009), important networks of elites in various institutions and countries were
blind to obvious warning signs from a group think (Janis, 1972) illusion that this
time it is different (Reinhart and Rogoff, 2009). For instance, in the United States
(US) mortgage industry, once the perception of the great moderation took hold, it
was accepted uncritically by banks and the consultants who advised them, so when
the crash occurred all the experts were taken aback by a supposed perfect storm
(Kolb, 2010, p. 280). This situation has led to renewed interest in the study of elites
(Hartmann, 2009; Khan, 2011). By elites, we mean small minorities who appear to
play an exceptionally influential part in political and social affairs (Parry, 1967, p.
Our paper contributes to the study of elites by developing an index for the
comparison of elite formation across countries and demonstrates the value of that
measure by comparing the role of post-primary education in the formation of two
comparable elites. The difficulties in comparing elite formation across countries has
been a hindrance to a fuller understanding of the roles played by elites in modern
societies. However, by drawing upon indices developed in other fields, such as
industrial economics, we provide an index that facilitates the international
comparison of elite formation.
To illustrate the comparability of the measures we develop, we will compare
the role of the post-primary school systems in Ireland and United Kingdom (UK) in
the formation of two comparable political elites: politicians who attained the office
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of cabinet minister in their respective governments in the 75 years between 1937 and
2012. Appointment to cabinet in a democracy places an individual in a position of
rare trust and in an exclusive club. By definition, few members of any society will
ever hold such high office. While the UK is a much bigger county than Ireland, their
cabinets are of similar size and they possess a shared political lineage and
parliamentary structure (Donnelly and Hogan, 2012). We selected 1937 as our
starting point, as that year saw the introduction of the Irish Constitution (Bunreacht
na hÉireann), which through Articles 15, 16, 18 and 28 established Irelands current
form of cabinet government under a parlimentary system, thereby allowing for a
more meaningful comparison of Irish and UK cabinets.
We begin by drawing from the literature on elites. We then show how an
index facilitating cross-country comparison of elite formation can add to the
literature, and, in particular, justify our comparison of the role of post-primary
schooling systems in the formation of UK and Irish cabinets. Thereafter, we set out
the reasoning and formulae behind our comparative measure the elite index and
its constituent dimensions of influence and exclusivity. These formulae, their
construction and application represent the value added of the paper. We finish with a
discussion of our results and conclusions.
Theoretical perspectives on elites
Early works on elites include The Ruling Class, a study of the division of societies
into a ruling and a ruled class the elite and the masses (Mosca, 1939); Political
Parties, a work on how elites used the power of being organised (Michels, 1999);
and The Mind and Society, a study of how power moves within the elite social class
(Pareto, 1935). These authors were in some way responding to the contemporary
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development of mass democracy and their view was that there was always, even in a
democracy, a small ruling class that held the real power (Blad, 2009). For Michels
(1999), the rule of the few is inevitable, in all times and in all places, however
democratic the organisation may seem to be (Slattery, 2003, p. 52). This iron law of
oligarchy, as Michels (1999) referred to it, arose because individuals were deemed
to be naturally unequal and society functioned better with the masses led by a better
qualified elite.
The Power Elite showed that a powerful elite, made up of big corporations,
the military and the federal government ruled the US (Mills, 2000). Fascinatingly,
this perspective was repeated in President Eisenhowers farewell address in 1961
when he referred to the dangers posed by the military-industrial complex (Hartung,
Nevertheless, some see the elite as essential to the functioning of a
democratic society (Higley and Burton, 2006; Putnam, 1976). In part, this view of
elites is due to social scientists regarding them as a less cohesive, more pluralistic
and meritocratic replacement for a single ruling class whose power reflected only its
ownership of capital. Higley, Kullberg and Pakulski (1996) and Murphy (2006)
argue that in Eastern Europe, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the
continuity of political elites provided a relatively high degree of cohesiveness and
security conducive to democratic competition.
Despite such a functionalist view of elites, Hartmann (2009) amassed
evidence that there remains a strong connection between social class and the ability
to become a member of the elite. But, if an elite is more hereditary than meritocratic,
it loses legitimacy based on rare skills and enough connections with the rest of the
society to make decisions on its behalf. A key to discerning whether particular elites
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are meritocratic or hereditary are comparisons across countries of how elites are
formed. Bourdieu (1996) focussed on the reproduction of the elite, stressing the role
of particular educational institutions, doxa (unconscious beliefs that support extant
social arrangements that privilege the dominant), and habitus (a set of dispositions
and learned habits that align individuals with their positions in society). Educational
institutions provide hidden services to certain classes by concealing social sections
under the guise of technical selection and legitimating the reproductions of the social
hierarchies (Bourdieu and Passeron, 1990, p. 153). Cookson and Persell (1985;
2010,p. 27), examining boarding schools in the US and UK over a span of 25 years,
found that these institutions remain a pipeline to selective colleges, continue to
socialize students for upper-class membership and retain preparation for power as
their core mission. It is to the role and measurement of post-primary educational
institutions in the production of the political elite that we now turn.
Comparing elite formation across countries
Through comparative studies, we can discover trends and achieve an understanding
of broader socio-political characteristics (Blondel, 1995, p. 3). The value of
comparison is the perspective it offers, and its goal of building a body of increasingly
complete explanatory theory (Mayer, Burnett and Ogden, 1993). But, as Lieberman
(2001, p. 5) recommends, in addition to cross country cases, comparative historical
analyses are also beneficial. Such comparative approaches can have benefits in terms
of public policy formulation and administration (Lee and Whitford, 2009). To
address these recommendations, we draw our data, spanning 75 years, from Ireland
and the UK.
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These countries were selected using the most-similar case selection technique
(Gerring, 2007). Ireland and the UK share the overarching criteria of being long-
standing democracies since the first quarter of the 20th century, when Ireland gained
its independence from the UK (Hogan and Doyle, 2008). As a result of that historical
link, the Irish parliamentary system still manifests many similarities with the
Westminster system in structure and culture (Gallagher, 2009; Lijphart, 1999).
Consequently, cabinet government encompassing the characteristics of collective
cabinet responsibility, cabinet consensus and ministerial responsibility for
departments is of critical policy making importance in both countries (Richards and
Smith, 2007). Thus, in the Westminster model, parliament is not seen as a real
maker of law, but instead provides a forum where the issues raised by a government
proposal can be fully aired (Gallagher, 2009, p. 209).
The historical development of elites in Ireland and the UK, given Irelands
incorporation into the UK until 1921, are intertwined. Towards the end of the 18th
century, a very rapid fusing of English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish elites through
marriage and inheritance saw a convergence of perspectives and increased the
cohesion of the British ruling class (Moe, 2007, p. 64). Assisting in this process was
education. Whereas in the early 18th century, the ruling classes had their children
privately tutored, by the turn of the 19th century, the vast majority of the elite
received their education at places like Eton, Winchester and Harrow (Colley, 1992,
p. 167). These exclusive schools are confusingly called public schools as they were
open to anyone who could pass the entrance examinations and afford the fees,
without religious or other restrictions. The public school system contributed a
disproportionate number of its members to the controlling institutions and key
decision-making groups of the country (Domhoff, 1967, p. 5).
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Following Irish independence in 1921, the ascendancy class the propertied
elite associated with the former British regime became socially marginalised
(Collins and Cradden, 2001). Thereafter, the Irish gradually developed their own
indigenous elite upon the foundations of a rising mercantile class (Lee, 1989). As the
country is small, there is a certain homogeneity that characterises the Irish elite
(Murphy and Hogan, 2008; ORourke and Hogan, 2013). By the mid 1990s, higher
and lower professionals were disproportionally represented in the Dáil (lower house
of the Irish parliament). Higher professionals constituted almost a quarter of TDs
(members of parliament), compared with just four percent of society (Constitutional
Review Group, 1996; Lynch and Hogan, 2012). Evidence of the same kind of ‘group
think’ amongst the elite that was prevalent in the USA in relation to the 2008
banking crisis was also evident in Ireland (O’Rourke and Hogan, 2014).
Following the Second World War, post-primary education in the UK was
provided free up to age 14. The comprehensive post-primary school was introduced
to England and Wales in the mid 1960s, and now accounts for almost 90 percent of
UK post-primary school students. Today, there are still around 2,500 independent or
private schools in the UK, of which about 10 percent are the public schools
discussed above. Post-primary education has been free in Ireland since 1967 (Barry,
2010), though there remains 56 private Irish post-primary schools charging fees,
albeit with the state paying the teachers salaries.
Measurement and components of the elite nature of a formation System
In examining how elite a particular system of institutions is in the formation of a
specific societal group (for example, how elite the UK post-primary school system is
in relation to the composition of the UK cabinet), it is desirable to capture both the
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influence and exclusivity of that system. A measure of what we mean by the
influence of a particular institution upon a specific societal group is that proportion
of the group that is affiliated with that institution (for example, the percentage of UK
cabinet ministers who were past pupils of the public school Eton College). We will
term those institutions that have influence in the sense of their affiliates being
members of an elite group, elite institutions. So, for example, Eton College might
be termed an elite school in relation to the UK cabinet, since it has past pupils who
have been cabinet members. Those institutions without affiliates in the elite group
are non-elite institutions and have no influence in the sense used here.
The other component of how elite a system of institutions is in the
formation of a specific societal group is exclusivity. Exclusivity is a condition
closely associated with elite schools (Rahman-Khan, 2011). These schools were seen
by many scholars, Mills (1956) amongst them, as agents in a conspiracy of the
already privileged to perpetuate their privilege forever (Powell, 1997, p. 85). With
the rise of neo-liberalism, some have spoken of the exclusive society (Young,
1999). What we mean by the exclusivity of a particular institution might be roughly
measured by the degree to which being socialised there is an uncommon experience
(for example, the proportion of all UK school children that attend Eton). However,
both the influence and exclusivity of a particular system of institutions is more
complex than intuition suggests. Consequently, we will examine measures of
influence and exclusivity separately, before combining them to provide an index of
how elite a system of institutions is.
Measuring the influence element of elite formation systems
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The influence of a particular set of elite formation institutions comprises two
dimensions: the proportion of the selected elite that are associated with those
institutions, along with the limited number, or fewness, of the institutions. For
example, Hartmann (2009, p. 69) not only points out that, since 1945, over 60
percent of permanent secretaries in the UKs civil service were educated in elite
schools, but also notes that the most important of these schools are the Clarendon
Nine. Both the large share (i.e., 60 percent) of this elite group of civil servants who
attended these schools and the small number (i.e., 9) of the schools themselves are
marshalled by Hartmann (2009) to show that these institutions are elite.
These two dimensions of institutional influence have made it hard to compare
the role of institutions in the production of elites across countries, as one dimension
may be higher and the other lower, making it increasingly more complex to keep in
mind both dimensions as one compares and contrasts an increasing number of
countries. Similar problems have been encountered in studies of international trade
concentration (Hirschman, 1945), biological diversity in particular environments
(Simpson, 1949), supplier concentration in markets (Herfindahl, 1950), and
sociological heterogeneity (Blau, 1977). For example, in comparing how
monopolised markets are, industrial economists may know there are only 10 sellers
in Market A, while there are 100 in Market B. Since there are fewer suppliers in
Market A it might appear, looking at the fewness component of monopoly power
alone, that Market A is more monopolised than B. However, the picture would be
confused if it turned out that in Market A each of the 10 sellers controlled 10 percent
of market sales, whereas in Market B the top seller controlled 90 percent of sales
while the remaining 99 companies shared just 10 percent. To combine both the
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fewness and share aspects of monopoly power economists use concentration
An adapted version of this concentration measure provides an index of
institutional influence that captures both the share of factor of eliteness and the
fewness factor in a set of institutions. Our Institutional Influence Index (I-Index) is
the sum, across the total number of formation institutions (n), of squared shares (s) of
affiliates of each institution (i) in the elite, so that
where mi is the number of affiliates of the ith institute that are members of the elite in
question and M is the total number of members of that elite.
This formula is an adaptation of the Herfindahl Hirschman Index (H-Index),
as described by, for example, Davies et al. (1991, p. 82) and in common usage in
industrial economics. Adapting this formula not only means the desirable properties
of the index are supported by its years of development and use in industrial
economics, but that particular values of the I-Index can be compared with the many
measures of market power that have been carried out using the H-index.
In terms of our study, the influence of secondary school systems on the
formation of cabinet ministers depends both on the frequency of schools with any
alumni as cabinet ministers, and how evenly these few schools share in the total of
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such ministers. Our I-Index goes up if, other things being equal, a greater proportion
of those in ministerial office are graduates of any one school. The value of our I-
Index will also go up if there are fewer schools involved in producing elite alumni.
Measuring the exclusivity element of elite formation systems
The other side of elite formation is the exclusivity of the institutions involved. Like
institutional influence, there are two dimensions of exclusivity among a population
of institutions. Firstly, the more alternatives there are to any one institution, the more
exclusivity there can be, other things being equal. For example, if all of a relevant
population attend a single educational institution there is no exclusivity, though there
may be much influence. The other aspect of exclusivity is inequality of the shares of
each institution: the more unequal the shares the more exclusivity there is. Thus, we
are not using the simple percentage of the relevant population that attend elite
producing institutions as our measure of exclusiveness.
In defining our Institutional Exclusiveness Index (X-Index), we are, for the
moment, ignoring how influential the institutions may be. If P is the total number in
the relevant general population and pi is the number of the relevant general
population in the ith institution, and n is the number of institutions, then a measure of
exclusivity (X-Index) would be:
The X-Index rises if the shares institutions have of the relevant population become
more unequal. This is as we might expect if, for example, an elite school like Eton
halved its intake of students. In such a circumstance, we would naturally think of this
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resulting in increased exclusivity in the system and our X-Index will increase
accordingly. At the extreme inclusivity of all students going to a single school, the
X-Index will be equal to 0, as the exclusivity disappears. As the inequality of school
sizes increases, the X-Index will go towards 1.
Though the X-Index is a good measure of the exclusivity for a system of
institutions, it is very exacting in needing full information on the shares of all
institutions in the relevant population. In the case of the UK system of post-primary
schools, with over 3,000 state-funded schools in England alone (Department for
Education, 2011, p. 14: Table 2a), this is quite an informational demand. Though one
can have confidence, perhaps, in the statistics in the UK being sufficiently accurate,
this informational demand may not be satisfied sufficiently in other countries.
Furthermore, whereas the X-Index gives a good measure of exclusiveness of the total
formation system, it measures exclusiveness regardless of influence. So the X-Index
may be confusing for those interested in the formation of elites, as not only will the
X-Index increase if an elite school like Eton halves its intake, as noted above, but X
will also rise if a school that has no alumni in the elite reduces its intake.
So, to reduce data requirements and to focus on the elite formation element of
exclusivity, a more practicable exclusivity index acceptable for studying elite
formation systems is the XE-Index. Where, P is, as above, the total relevant
population, pk is the population in the kth elite institution, and t is the number of elite
institutions, then
The XE-Index measures the exclusiveness of elite schools only and is not
affected by the how non-elite schools vary in size, but does measure changes in both
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the proportion of the relevant population that goes to elite schools, and how that
proportion is shared out among the elite schools. Like the X-Index, whose structure
is very similar, the XE-Index behaves appropriately as a measure of elite formation
Combining measures of influence and exclusivity into a measure of the eliteness
of a formation system.
The elite index of a system of institutions is not a simple product of their exclusivity
and influence indices, but rather requires a measure that links exclusivity and
influence at the level of each institution, before aggregation to the level of the
system. After all, institutions may be very exclusive without being elite if their
affiliates have no positions of influence. So, even if a particular institution
contributes to the exclusivity of a system, if it has no affiliates in the particular elite
being measured, it should make no contribution to the eliteness measure of that
system. Similarly, an institution may be very influential, in the sense of having many
affiliates in influential positions, but be so inclusive of the entire population that it
cannot be claimed to contribute to the eliteness of the system. For example, being
baptised as a Roman Catholic in 20th century Ireland may have admitted one to a
very powerful institution, but would confer no rare power on any individual. Rather,
eliteness is the linked combination of exclusivity and influence.
The influence and exclusivity measures can be combined into a linked
Institutional Eliteness Index (E-Index)
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where, as above, mi is the number of affiliates of institute i that are members of the
elite in question and M is the total number of members of that elite. P is the total
number in the relevant general population and pi is the number of the relevant
general population in institution i. In calculating E there is no need for individual
information on non-elite schools since the of non-elite schools will be zero, so
such information will count for nought in the calculated E-Index.
The E-Index, like any summary measure, cannot be expected to capture every
nuance in the data that compose it. However, the E-Index has some desirable
qualities as a measure of the elite nature of a set of institutions. If all institutions have
an equal share of the relevant general population, and all institutions have an equal
share of their affiliates in the elite, then the E-Index will be equal to zero. Likewise,
if the share of each institutions affiliates is exactly proportional to their share in the
general relevant population, then the E-Index will be zero. If any institutions
affiliates have a larger share of membership of the elite, then the E-Index will rise. If
an elite producing institution takes a smaller share of the general population, this
increased exclusivity of the institution will be reflected in a rise in the E-Index.
An advantage of the three indices developed here, is that the results they
produce all move between zero and one, with zero representing no influence, no
exclusivity and no eliteness, and one standing for the opposite. Consequently, the
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indices produce results that are easily comparable and comprehendible across
institutions, jurisdictions, and time.
Sample and Procedures
We focus upon the post-primary schools attended by cabinet ministers from Ireland
and the UK between 1937 and 2012 to gain an insight into the eliteness of these
institutions. Being a cabinet minister in any democratic society places one in an
exclusive club. Under the Irish Constitution, the cabinet, vested with executive
authority and consisting of between 7 and 15 members, though usually 15, is the
government of Ireland. In the UK, the cabinet is made up of the Prime Minister and
some 22 senior ministers.
Between 1937, when Ireland adopted a form of cabinet government similar to
that in the UK (Farrell, 1971), and 2012, there were 157 ministers in Irish
governments and 336 in UK governments. While it might have been expected that
these figures would have been higher, given that there have been 29 governments in
Ireland and 19 in the UK over the 75 years in question, it tends to be the case that
senior politicians are often reappointed as ministers in various governments. We
identified the post-primary schools attended by each of these ministers 89 schools
for Irish ministers and 162 for UK ministers. Having identified the population of
post-primary schools, we gathered data on the number of students enrolled in each
The I, XE and E indices for post primary schools in Ireland and the UK
Employing the E-Index, we compare the eliteness of the Irish and UK post-primary
school systems in the formation of Irish and UK cabinets (1937-2012). Crucial to our
measure of influence is how membership of the elite is counted. A simple way is to
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count every person in the elite who is an affiliate of an institute, regardless of how
long that person was in the elite group. For example, this straightforward way of
counting membership means that both Garret FitzGerald and Frank Cluskey, both
members of the Irish cabinet, would enter our measure of institutional influence as
one for Belvedere Secondary School (fee paying school) and one for St. Vincents
Glasnevin Secondary School (free school) respectively. This straightforward
procedure is adopted here.
However, it is worth considering its implications. We chose FitzGerald and
Cluskey to illustrate some issues with our cabinet (elite) membership measurement:
FitzGerald served for 10 years in cabinet, occupying the office of Taoiseach for over
four years, while Cluskey served just under one year as a cabinet minister. These
very different cabinet experiences contribute equally to the influence index, and to
the eliteness index in our approach. Thus, we adopt a method that focuses upon being
in cabinet, as opposed to duration or rank. This is because, firstly, while data for our
particular cases are rich, and more nuanced measures of membership are attainable,
we are keen to show that the measures can be useful with the kind of data that would
be attainable for many elite groups in diverse situations. Secondly, since the elite-
formation institutions we are studying are post-primary schools, there is a sense that
the influence of these schools would be conflated with, and perhaps outweighed by,
the effect of making it to the elite group itself. Once a person has become a cabinet
minister, it may be that this is the key influence on that person continuing in cabinet,
rather than the post-primary school attended. The I-Index calculations for those post-
primary schools whose former pupils were/are in the Irish and UK cabinets are set
out in Appendices A and B.
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On the exclusivity side, crucial to our measure is the total number in the
relevant general population and the number of the relevant general population in
each elite producing institution. For our measure of the relevant general population,
we took the total post-primary school population in each jurisdiction in 2010 and for
pi we took the total number of students in each school in 2010. Although it would be
possible to construct arguments for other measures of relevant general populations
and numbers in each school, we have again chosen the most straightforward
measures. This choice shows the indices working with easily available data. The use
of current data, rather than, say, moving averages, also shows the most up-to-date
state of affairs.
By examining the post-primary school systems in this manner providing
aggregate summary measures for their eliteness, influence and exclusivity we
provide a potentially powerful tool for international comparisons of elite formation
systems. Given that elite formation in Ireland and particularly in the UK is well-
studied and understood, applying our methodology to these cases allows the
robustness of our comparative measures to be examined in the light of previous work
(Cohan, 1972; 1973; Hartmann, 2009; Keating and Cairney, 2006).
Results and Discussion
In Appendix A, we set out our calculations of the E-Index, the I-Index, and
the XE-Index for the post-primary schools that have provided Irish government
ministers since 1937. Appendix B shows similar calculations for the UK. The E-
Index, the I-Index and the XE-Index are comparable across both countries. Although,
not the focus of this work, the index scores for the individual schools (see Appendix
A and B) are comparable against each other.
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E-Index Scores for Ireland and the UK
In Table 1, we set out the values of the E-Index for the post-primary school systems
in Ireland and the UK that supplied ministers to Irish and British cabinets between
1937 and 2012.
Table 1: Elite indices for the Irish and UK post-primary school systems supplying
cabinet ministers
United Kingdom
*These rounded values are taken from the calculations detailed in the appendices.
From Table 1, we see that the E-Index for Ireland was approximately 0.0109
and 0.0253 for the UK. Thus, the post-primary school system in the UK that
produced cabinet ministers was more than twice as elite as the comparable Irish
system. The finding that the UK post-primary school system supplying cabinet
ministers is more elite than its Irish equivalent is consistent with the investigations of
other researchers (e.g., Hartmann, 2009). Thus, our E-Index figures are analogous to
the arguments made by other researchers relying more on thick description and
impressionistic evidence than the comparative and more quantitatively precise
approach we have developed.
We now move on to consider the influence and exclusivity components of
eliteness in the two systems. Thus, we provide further comparison between the two
systems using the same data as employed in calculating the overall E-Index.
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I-Index Scores for Ireland and the UK
From Table 2, we can see that the I-Index for Ireland was approximately 0.0114,
while it stood at approximately 0.0257 for the UK.
Table 2: Influence Indices for the Irish and UK post-primary school systems
supplying cabinet ministers.
United Kingdom
*These rounded values are taken from the calculations detailed in the appendices.
We can see that the I-Index for the UK schools supplying cabinet ministers is
over twice that for Ireland. This again reflects the impression one gets from a more
intimate reading of the situation. Before exploring that further, it is worth
considering how the measures of influence compare to other contexts.
Should the UK I-Index value of 0.0257 be considered high? The answer lies
in comparison. This UK value is clearly high relative to the Irish one. Application of
the index to other systems will allow a more holistic judgement. Our construction of
the index, drawing as it does on the industrial economics measures (H-Index), also
means we have another source of comparative values. Thus, I-Index values can be
compared to values of the H-Index for different markets. The I-Index scores for
Ireland and the UK are effectively a measurement of supplier (post-primary school)
concentration in the production of the political elite in both countries. In the
industrial economics context, markets with a H-Index of less than 0.2 would be
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considered competitive. Thus, from an industrial economics perspective that views
schools as sellers and cabinets as buyers, there is no evidence of monopoly power
being held by elite schools in supplying ministers to the Irish or UK cabinets
between 1937 and 2012.
Of course, concerns about elitist schools supplying cabinet ministers are
broader than the traditional industrial economics concern with monopoly power.
First, there is the social concern about the lack of diversity in elite formation an
elite that lacks diversity may be more subject to the problem of group think.
Secondly, there is the representativeness by elites of experiences in the general
population it is unhelpful if a governing elite is unfamiliar with the experiences of
the governed. Thirdly, there is the social concern that the exclusivity of those schools
is restricting access to elite positions unfairly. The first two concerns mean that we
might have issues at lower levels of the I-index than industrial economics would lead
us to expect. The third concern, unfair restriction of opportunity, is more directly
addressed in the following section by the other component of our eliteness measure,
the exclusivity or XE-Index.
XE-Index Scores for Ireland and the UK
Whereas the I-Index was used to measure the influence of the elite formation
institutions, the XE-Index seeks to measure the exclusivity of these institutions. From
Table 3, we can see that the XE-Index for Ireland was approximately 0.96, while the
comparable score for the UK school system stood at 0.98.
Table 3: Exclusiveness indices for the Irish and UK post-primary school systems
supplying cabinet ministers.
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United Kingdom
*These rounded values are taken from the calculations detailed in the appendices.
According to our XE-Index, the post-primary school system supplying
cabinet ministers in the UK between 1937 and 2012 is just a little more exclusive
than the Irish system.
A measure that might appear more intuitive would be to see how unusual it is
for members of a relevant general population to be part of an elite forming
institution. For example, we can calculate, from Appendix A, that in Ireland 1 in
every 7.5 students is attending a school that has supplied a cabinet minister in the
past 75 years; while, from Appendix B, we can see that in the UK only 1 in every 27
students is attending such a school.
While such figures provide an intuitive feel of exclusivity, they do not tell us
if a system of elite post-primary schools is characterised by further exclusivity within
that system, or if within that exclusive set all schools are equally accessible. For
example, consider two scenarios A and B. Imagine that in A you had identified an
exclusive set of 100 post-primary schools whose past pupils became cabinet
ministers and each of those schools were equally sized, say 1,000 students each.
Contrast that with scenario B, where you again had 100 post-primary schools whose
past pupils became cabinet ministers, but in this scenario, while 20 of them had 100
pupils each, the other 80 had 1,225 pupils. Our XE-Index has the desirable property
of giving a higher measure of exclusivity for the B scenario, whereas mere ratios of
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pupils attending the exclusive 100 schools to the relevant cohort of the general
population show no difference.
Our XE measure shows that while the Irish post-primary school system that
produces cabinet ministers is not quite as exclusive as that of the UK, the smaller
size (the average elite-producing school size in Ireland has a mere 530 students,
compared to the UK equivalent of 964), and therefore more exclusive nature of Irish
elite-producing post-primary schools, means that the Irish system is closer to the
UKs exclusivity than first appears.
Despite the existence of a wide-ranging literature on elites that dates back to the late
19th century, no study has previously sought to establish indices for influence,
exclusivity and eliteness of elite formation systems that are broadly applicable and
comparable. Nor have there been any studies of this nature, where the influence,
exclusivity and eliteness of the educational institutions attended by senior politicians,
in two countries, over 75 years, were compared and contrasted. As this approach
allows us measure three separate indices, it means constituent elements that equate to
elitenesss can be identified, quantified and compared. Thus, at the macro level, we
can see how each of the dimensions of eliteness varies between all of the post-
primary schools supplying ministers in Ireland and the UK. This direct comparability
constitutes a major contribution to the extant literature on elites, overcoming a
limitation that has restricted our ability to fully comprehend the relationships
between different elites.
At the macro level, our research indicates that, over the 75 years between
1937 and 2012, only a small percentage of the post-primary schools in Ireland and
the UK, out of the total number of such institutions, provided ministers and even
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fewer provided more than one minister, with just a few schools providing many
ministers. This eliteness of the formation system was much greater in the UK than in
Ireland, with the UK E-index being over twice of the Irish E-index. The
concentration of influence in the UK was also much higher, as measured by our I-
index, being over twice that of Ireland. Surprisingly, perhaps, the XE-index for the
UK system was only slightly higher than that for Ireland, but this draws our attention
to how the particularly small size of Irish elite secondary schools adds to their
exclusiveness. Up to now, while we might have had the general impression that the
Irish system was more elite than the UK one, we had no way to quantitatively
scrutinize it. Consequently, the indices set out here constitute a significant new tool
for use in comparative elite studies, bringing a level of transparency and facility in
comparison to the topic that was previously absent.
Boring down into this data at an individual school level, dividing the schools
into free and fee paying, examining the findings in temporal increments, or focusing
upon specific ministerial portfolios, may enable future researchers shed light on the
reasons for the disparities between the countries. By comparing and contrasting the
three indices for the various types of post-primary schools in both countries,
interesting findings should be produced. This prospect highlights both the macro and
micro applicability of the indices.
Thus, this study has been concerned with presenting a means of measuring
eliteness in a manner that permits comparison across countries and institutions, and
at multiple levels within those countries and institutions. But, going beyond this, the
study sought to identify the components that constitute eliteness. As issues pertaining
to the elite of whatever kind, and to what eliteness means, is a subject of concern in
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all societies, the measures set out here will enable researchers provide a better means
of understanding and comparing the particular elite that interests them.
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Note: Junior coauthor (Mexico chapter; and contributions to two other chapters).
The world's best financial minds help us understand today's financial crisis. With so much information saturating the market for the everyday investor, trying to understand why the economic crisis happened and what needs to be done to fix it can be daunting. There is a real need, and demand, from both investors and the financial community to obtain answers as to what really happened and why. Lessons from the Financial Crisis brings together the leading minds in the worlds of finance and academia to dissect the crisis. Divided into three comprehensive sections-The Subprime Crisis; The Global Financial Crisis; and Law, Regulation, the Financial Crisis, and The Future-this book puts the events that have transpired in perspective, and offers valuable insights into what we must do to avoid future missteps. Each section is comprised of chapters written by experienced contributors, each with his or her own point of view, research, and conclusions. Examines the market collapse in detail and explores safeguards to stop future crises. Encompasses the most up-to-date analysis from today's leading financial minds. We currently face a serious economic crisis, but in understanding it, we can overcome the challenges it presents. This well-rounded resource offers the best chance to get through the current situation and learn from our mistakes.
In a financial system in which balance sheets are continuously marked to market, asset price changes appear immediately as changes in net worth, and eliciting responses from financial intermediaries who adjust the size of their balance sheets. We document evidence that marked-to-market leverage is strongly procyclical. Such behavior has aggregate consequences. Changes in dealer repos - the primary margin of adjustment for the aggregate balance sheets of intermediaries - forecast changes in financial market risk as measured by the innovations in the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index VIX index. Aggregate liquidity can be seen as the rate of change of the aggregate balance sheet of the financial intermediaries.
As one of the most prestigious high schools in the nation, St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, has long been the exclusive domain of America's wealthiest sons. But times have changed. Today, a new elite of boys and girls is being molded at St. Paul's, one that reflects the hope of openness but also the persistence of inequality. In Privilege, Shamus Khan returns to his alma mater to provide an inside look at an institution that has been the private realm of the elite for the past 150 years. He shows that St. Paul's students continue to learn what they always have--how to embody privilege. Yet, while students once leveraged the trappings of upper-class entitlement, family connections, and high culture, current St. Paul's students learn to succeed in a more diverse environment. To be the future leaders of a more democratic world, they must be at ease with everything from highbrow art to everyday life--from Beowulf to Jaws--and view hierarchies as ladders to scale. Through deft portrayals of the relationships among students, faculty, and staff, Khan shows how members of the new elite face the opening of society while still preserving the advantages that allow them to rule.
* Prologue: Seeking the Prep School Perspective The World Of Boarding Schools * Privilege and the Importance of Elite Education * Rousseaus Children: Total Educational Environments * The Chosen Ones The Prep Rite Of Passage * Cultural Capital: Curricula and Teachers * Academic Climates, Teaching Styles, and Student Stress * The Iron Hand in the Velvet Glove: Trustees, Heads, and Charisma * The Prep Crucible * The Student Underlife and the Loss of Innocence The World Beyond * The Vital Link: Prep Schools and Higher Education * Preps at Play and in the Power Structure