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Elites, Corporations, and the Wealth of Nations: How Historical Institutional Settings Shape Directorship Interlocks in Italy and Spain


  • Aguilera, Ruth V.

    (U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)


Intercorporate relations represent the structure of a country's economic organization and influence key outcomes such as a country's overall competitiveness. Research on this topic has focused on the nature of these relations in terms of directorship interlocks, the incentives to establish them, and their behavioral and strategic consequences along a number of dimensions. However, less attention has been devoted to understanding how directorship interlocks vary across national cases and over time. I seek to fill in these gaps in knowledge by examining the role of national states in shaping patterns of directorship interlocks among the largest business corporations in Italy and Spain in the last quarter of the twentieth century. This comparative historical-institutional approach considers how countries that are similar along many dimensions varied in the way in which they managed their economic structures at the onset of industrialization, as well as in their response to common external pressures, such as the entry of foreign capital and the adhesion to the European Economic Community (now EU). I show that state intervention through state enterprises, financial policies, and openness of the economy has a profound effect on the structure of directorship interlocks in these two countries. Furthermore, institutions founded during the industrialization takeoff continue to exert a strong influence on economic structure for many decades. Finally, I discuss the implications of my findings for the convergence of economic structures across countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Aguilera, Ruth V., 2005. "Elites, Corporations, and the Wealth of Nations: How Historical Institutional Settings Shape Directorship Interlocks in Italy and Spain," Working Papers 05-0104, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:illbus:05-0104

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