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Right-Wing Political Extremism in the Great Depression

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  • Alan de Bromhead
  • Barry Eichengreen
  • Kevin H. O'Rourke

Abstract

We examine the impact of the Great Depression on the share of votes for right-wing anti-system parties in elections in the 1920s and 1930s. We confirm the existence of a link between political extremism and economic hard times as captured by growth or contraction of the economy. What mattered was not simply growth at the time of the election but cumulative growth performance. But the effect of the Depression on support for right-wing anti-system parties was not equally powerful under all economic, political and social circumstances. It was greatest in countries with relatively short histories of democracy, with existing extremist parties, and with electoral systems that created low hurdles to parliamentary representation. Above all, it was greatest where depressed economic conditions were allowed to persist.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17871.

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Date of creation: Feb 2012
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Publication status: published as "Political Extremism in the 1920s and 1930s: Do the German Lessons Generalize?" (with Alan de Bromhead and Keven O'Rourke), Journal of Economic History (July 2013).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17871

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  1. Political Costs of the Great Recession by Mark Harrison
    by Mark Harrison in Mark Harrison's blog on 2012-04-24 21:04:34
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Cited by:
  1. Eric Schneider, 2012. "Real Wages and the Family: Adjusting Real Wages to Changing Demography in Pre-Modern England," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _099, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  2. Martin Halla & Alexander F. Wagner & Josef Zweimüller, 2012. "Does Immigration into Their Neighborhoods Incline Voters Toward the Extreme Right? The Case of the Freedom Party of Austria," NRN working papers 2012-04, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  3. Jacopo Ponticelli & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2012. "Austerity and Anarchy: Budget Cuts and Social Unrest in Europe, 1919-2008," Working Papers 676, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  4. Eric Schneider, 2012. "Prices and Production: Agricultural Supply Response in Fourteenth-Century England," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _097, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  5. Martin Halla & Alexander F. Wagner & Josef Zweimüller, 2012. "Immigration and voting for the extreme right," ECON - Working Papers 083, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Oct 2013.
  6. Aled Davies, 2012. "The Evolution of British Monetarism: 1968-1979," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _104, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  7. Aled Davies, 2012. "The Evolution of British Monetarism: 1968-1979," Economics Series Working Papers Number 104, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Nicholas Crafts, 2013. "Long-Term Growth in Europe: What Difference does the Crisis Make?," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 224(1), pages R14-R28, May.

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