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Katrin Scharfenkamp and Alexander Dilger

Are the highest politicians better qualified than their peers? In this article, we analyze differences between chancellors, vice chancellors, and ministers of the inner or residual cabinets of the German federal governments between 1949 and 2009 with respect to their social backgrounds and educational, economic, as well as political human capital. Different statistical methods reveal no clear primacy of chancellors or vice chancellors over other members of government. Interestingly, inner cabinets have higher qualifications than residual cabinets, as well as partly chancellors and vice chancellors.