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How the Corporate Elite Reconvened in the Nonprofit Sector

Despite rapidly increasing income inequality, members of the American economic elite, with some visible exceptions, appear less public minded than in the past (Mizruchi 2013; Surowiecki 2014). According to Mizruchi, the corporate elite of today has lost its capacity to cooperate in the general public interest. But has this powerful network of business leaders truly fractured, as Mizruchi argues, or has its locus of power shifted to a different sector of society? This project investigates the extent to which the corporate elite has reassembled in the nonprofit sector. Today, it is common practice for corporate leaders to serve on the boards of one or multiple nonprofit organizations, an observation which challenges the claim that the corporate elite is less able to cooperate in the alleged public interest. We examine interlocking directorates among the nation's largest corporations and nonprofit organizations since 1970 in order to assess whether the corporate elite has reconvened within the nonprofit sphere, and to explore the implications of this transition for progressive policymaking and the public good.


Description of the research activities assistants would be doing:

Over the course of the semester, assistants will create and develop an historical database that will
include information about the one hundred largest American nonprofit organizations, by assets. Much of
the information will come from organization filings (990 forms) that the student will collect. The database
will primarily include information about the executives and directors of this set of organizations for each
year between 1970 and 2010.


*Number of hours per week students are needed: 6 - 9
*Number of credit hours: 2 - 3


Faculty Advisor: Mark Mizruchi mizruchi@umich.edu


Contact information:
Mikell Hyman hymik@umich.edu


*For hours worked and credit hours, in the winter term students must work an average of 3 hours per
week for every credit hour earned. In a half term that is doubled. Students in the Summer Half term must
work an average of 6 hours per week for each credit hour earned.