Elites. They’re all over the news these days. But who are they and what do we know about them? An excellent new study, Who Rules the World? A Portrait of the Global Leadership Class, takes a systematic approach to answer these questions. At its heart lies a new database, the Global Leadership Project (GLP), which covers 145 nation-states and 38,085 ‘leaders’, each of whom is given biographical information. In total, the database has approximately 1.1 million data points. Academics at several leading institutions, John Gerring, Erzen Oncel, the late Kevin Morrison, and Daniel Pemstein, then sliced and diced this data to arrive at a compelling picture of today’s leadership elite.

Male (81% of the total), married (91%), and on average 55 years old. They speak roughly two languages, with over one third speaking English. They are normally university educated with almost half educated in the West. Their most common degrees were in Economics/Business/Management or Law. The majority had white collar jobs or political backgrounds before entering the leadership elite. Typically, they earn thirteen times more than national average.



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