NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Stability of the American Business Elite

Peter Temin

NBER Historical Working Paper No. 110
Issued in December 1998
NBER Program(s):   DAE

This paper begins the task of explaining why the American business elite has remained white, male and mostly native-born Protestants for a century, as verified in a previous paper (Temin, 1997). I argue that the evidence is inconsistent with the hypotheses that the stability is due to discrimination on the job or to principal-agent factors. The most likely explanation is that this demographic group makes the best business managers. I suggest that this in turn is not because they are inherently superior, but because they have had access to superior education, a result of past discrimination.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/h0110

Published: Industrial and Corporate Change, Vol. 8 (June 1999): 189-210.

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