Who Rules America?  By G. William Domhoff, University of California at Santa Cruz

Power Elite Database


This section of WhoRulesAmerica.net centers around a database of the "power elite" in the U.S. (as of 2010-2011). The power elite is defined very specifically as an institutionally based leadership group made up of the directors of large for-profit companies and the trustees of influential policy-oriented nonprofit organizations (see the Venn diagram).

Since this database includes both institutions and individuals, network analyses of large-scale databases provide a very good starting point for studying the power elite (e.g., Mills & Domhoff, 2023; Domhoff, Staples, & Schneider, 2013).

Search Engine & Data

Search the Power Elite data

A searchable database of the "power elite" in the U.S. (as of 2010-2011) makes it possible to explore the boards of directors of hundreds of corporations and nonprofit organizations, and their links to each other — as well as the connections of thousands of individuals, including some of the wealthiest people in the world.

About the data (and download links)

Details about the sources of the data in the database, the contents of the different versions, and download links for the raw data files.

Articles and Analysis

The Policy-Planning Capacity of the American Corporate Community: Corporations, Policy-Oriented Nonprofits, and the Inner Circle in 1935-1936 and 2010-2011

Tom Mills & G. William Domhoff (2023)

Using a combination of network analysis and descriptive statistics, this study examines the extent to which six important and long-standing policy-oriented nonprofit organizations (foundations, think tanks, and policy-discussion groups) were connected via their directors with the 250 largest corporations in the United States in 1935-1936 and 2010-2011. It also provides an overview of the recent evidence demonstrating that policy-oriented nonprofits are extremely effective in shaping governmental policy.

Interlocks and Interactions Among the Power Elite

G. William Domhoff, Clifford Staples, & Adam Schneider (2013)

This document presents findings about the American power structure based on the connections among 2,563 corporations, 6 business leadership and policy-discussion groups, 33 prominent think tanks, 82 major foundations, 47 private universities with large endowments, and 19 White House advisory committees for the years 2010-2011.

Centrality in Networks, and How It Is Measured

This document provides a brief introduction to the concept of "centrality," which is very important in network studies. As the everyday use of the term implies, centrality means that a person or organization is in some way a focal point or main figure in whatever group is being considered. How to measure centrality — which is the focus of this article — is less obvious.

This document's URL: http://whorulesamerica.net/power_elite/