Bowling for Fascism: Social Capital and the Rise of the Nazi Party
AbstractSocial capital is often associated with desirable political and economic outcomes. This paper contributes to a growing literature on its "dark side". We examine the role of social capital in the downfall of democracy in interwar Germany. We analyze Nazi Party entry in a cross-section of cities, and show that dense networks of civic associations such as bowling clubs, choirs, and animal breeders went hand-in-hand with a rapid rise of the Nazi Party. Towns with one standard deviation higher association density saw at least one-third faster entry. All types of associations – veteran associations and non-military clubs, “bridging” and “bonding” associations – positively predict NS Party entry. Party membership, in turn, predicts electoral success. These results suggest that social capital aided the rise of the Nazi movement that ultimately destroyed Germany’s first democracy. We also show that the effects of social capital were more important in the starting phase of the Nazi movement, and in towns less sympathetic to its message.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19201.
Date of creation: Jul 2013
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-
- N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-
- P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
- Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics
- Z18 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Public Policy
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-07-15 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2013-07-15 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-SOC-2013-07-15 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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- Pauline Grosjean, 2013. "Conflict and Social and Political Preferences: Evidence from World War II and Civil Conflict in 35 European countries," Discussion Papers 2013-29, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
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