How do we make sense of the policy implications of the numerous corporate elites appointed to positions in government? The board interlock network served as a reliable map of power for most of the 20th century. With the decline of the interlock network over the last few decades, we are left without a reliable map of corporate power, leading to a theory of a fractured corporate elite that is ineffectual in its collective policy influence.

In this article, we argue that the fractured elite thesis overlooks two factors that counteract the decline of the domestic interlock network- a stable inner circle of highly connected individuals and a growing policy planning network (PPN). Using network data from 2010-11 on both board of director and corporate-policy planning org interlocks, along with a plethora of data on corporate political behavior, we demonstrate that the inner circle is still the primary organizing group of the capitalist class, and that the PPN is its current organizational vehicle. We demonstrate that the PPN is a primary source of political mobilization and cohesion, and is thus a source of continued corporate dominance. Ultimately we argue that the PPN can be used as a map to guide our understanding of the relationship between business and politics.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License