Historical Social Research

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John Higley & Jan Pakulski, Elite and Leadership Change in Liberal Democracies [2007] [Abstract]

This article presents and assesses the thesis that a shift in the character of governing elites and leaders has been occurring in several important liberal democracies during recent years. Ascendant elites are more leonine and top leaders are more pugnacious. We attribute the shift to strong centripetal pressures that now impinge on elites and leaders, and we ask about the shift’s consequences for the operation of liberal democracies.