CIRJE-F-1042 "Change in Membership and Ranking of the Elites over Phases of Regime Change"
Author Name

Matsumoto, Tomoko and Tetsuji Okazaki

Date March 2017
Full Paper PDF file 

This study examines the difference between the regime transition phase and consolidation phase, dividing government elites into the pre-Meiji-Restoration-born group and the post-Meiji-Restoration-born group. Using the newly constructed government elites' data after the Meiji Restoration in Japan, we show that reformers' strategies to recruit government elites and establish a new intra-elite hierarchy changed from the regime transition phase to its consolidation phase. Initially, in order to contend against the incumbent elites, reformers recruited talented activists from the non-elite strata and assigned them to higher-level positions based on their abilities. On achieving a transfer of power, however, reformers' primary concern shifted to alleviating the dissatisfaction of the masses and the former elites. Therefore, while the barrier preventing access to the elite group keep lowering, which opened the way for non-elites to gain elite status, former elites are reintegrated into the elite group and the intra-elite hierarchy again comes to reflect the social stratum of the former regime.