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Communication Dans Un Congrès Année : 2015

The corporate elite and the policy-planning network in France and in Portugal


In capitalist countries, large companies and business elites concentrate a considerable share of political power. Studying interlocking directorates has been used as soon as the early twentieth century to assess this concentration of power. However the cohesion of business elites is insufficient to explain their political influence. Given that policy-planning agencies are identified as locations of political power, we turn to these organizations to evaluate their linkages with large corporations. We aim to explore the ideological orientation of these relational investments. More precisely, we wonder if there is a strategy to promote a neoliberal ideology. We run a comparison between France and Portugal. In both countries, the development of policy-planning agencies is more recent and the dependencies towards the state more pronounced than in the US and in the UK. Policy-planning agencies are usually defined as non-profit organisations (allegedly) independent from political parties, state bureaucracy and companies, which perform studies and advocacy concerning topics such as social issues, economics or international strategy in order to influence the political agenda. The methodology is based on two bipartite networks. In France, the first network is composed of the 100 main companies and their directors, and the second of the 40 main policy-planning agencies and their trustees and counsellors. In Portugal, it is 125 and 34 respectively. We first analyze the relational proximity among policy-planning organizations according to their ideological proximity in France and in Portugal. We then turn to the role played by the directors of large companies in this network. We finally evaluate to what extent large companies are likely to privilege liberal and conservative agencies, given the appointments of their directors in these organizations. In both countries, the main feature of the policy-planning network resides in its core-periphery structure. In France, the core is polarized according to a left wing / right wing cleavage, while this cleavage is less clear in Portugal. However, in France, interlocks between large corporations and major policy-planning agencies often transcend these divisions. Moreover, in both countries, we observe the prevalence of non-partisan organizations.


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Dates et versions

hal-02562176 , version 1 (04-05-2020)


  • HAL Id : hal-02562176 , version 1


Catherine Comet, Marta Varanda, Pedro Neves. The corporate elite and the policy-planning network in France and in Portugal. Sunbelt, INSNA Conference, 2015, Brighton, United Kingdom. ⟨hal-02562176⟩


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