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From public offices to the cultural or economic sector. How Dutch nobility kept its elite positions during the 20th century


  • Dronkers, J.
  • Schijf, H


Dutch noble families have held more elite positions than high bourgeois families during the 20th century, and this relative advantage hardly changed over several generations. In this paper we test on of the possible explanations of this ‘constant noble advantage hypothesis’, using a sample of members of noble and high bourgeois families born in the 20th century. We assume that Dutch nobility made a strategic shift from the public sector (diplomacy, local government) towards to the private sector (financial or service sector). The analyses confirm a move by the successive generations of Dutch nobility away from public elite positions towards more elite positions in the cultural and business sector. Although this move into elite position in other sectors does not fully compensate for the decline of elite positions in the public sector, it highlights an important part of the explanation of the ‘constant noble advantage’. Dutch high bourgeoisie did not made this move outside the public sector during the same period.

Suggested Citation

  • Dronkers, J. & Schijf, H, 2001. "From public offices to the cultural or economic sector. How Dutch nobility kept its elite positions during the 20th century," MPRA Paper 22151, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:22151

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    More about this item


    nobility; elite; cultural and business sector; constant noble advantage;

    JEL classification:

    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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