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Radio and the rise of Nazi in pre-war Germany

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  • Adena, Maja
  • Enikolopov, Ruben
  • Petrova, Maria
  • Santarosa, Veronica
  • Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina

Abstract

How far can media undermine democratic institutions and how persuasive can it be in assuring public support for dictator policies? We study this question in the context of Germany before World War II, between 1929 and 1939. First, we estimate the impact of radio signal on voting for the Nazi party before and after Nazi got control over the content of the broadcast. Prior to Hitler s appointment as chancellor, the radio, broadcasting cultural programs and some political news with an anti-Nazi slant, had a substantial negative effect on voting for the Nazi party. This negative effect was fully undone in just one month before the last competitive pre-war election following Hitler s appointment in 1933, which resulted in the change of radio content to heavy pro-Nazi propaganda. In the last few months that Germany remained democracy, the persuasion power of pro-Nazi propaganda was smaller than that of the anti-Nazi radio. Second, we examine the impact of the radio after Nazi fully consolidated power. Radio propaganda helped Nazi to enroll new party members and encouraged denunciations of Jews and other open expressions of anti-Semitism. Radio was most effective as propaganda tool when combined with other tools, such as Hitler s speeches, and when the message was more aligned with listeners priors as measured by historical variation in anti-Semitism. --

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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association in its series Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order with number 79876.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc13:79876

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  1. Shanker Satyanath & Nico Voigtlaender & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2013. "Bowling for Fascism: Social Capital and the Rise of the Nazi Party," NBER Working Papers 19201, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ruben Durante & Brian Knight, 2010. "Partisan Control, Media Bias, and Viewer Responses: Evidence from Berlusconi’s Italy," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/eu4vqp9ompq, Sciences Po.
  3. Timothy Besley & Andrea Prat, 2005. "Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 07, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  4. Stefano DellaVigna & Ruben Enikolopov & Vera Mironova & Maria Petrova & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2012. "Cross-border media and nationalism: Evidence from Serbian radio in Croatia," Working Papers w0189, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  5. Stefano DellaVigna & Ethan Kaplan, 2006. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," NBER Working Papers 12169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2010. "Media and Political Persuasion: Evidence from Russia," Working Papers w0149, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  7. Benjamin A. Olken, 2009. "Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence from Indonesian Villages," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 1-33, October.
  8. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521855266 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Gerber, Alan & Karlan, Dean & Bergan, Daniel, 2006. "Does The Media Matter? A Field Experiment Measuring the Effect of Newspapers on Voting Behavior and Political Opinions," Working Papers 12, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  10. King, Gary & Rosen, Ori & Tanner, Martin & Wagner, Alexander F., 2008. "Ordinary Economic Voting Behavior in the Extraordinary Election of Adolf Hitler," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(04), pages 951-996, December.
  11. Thomas Ferguson & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2008. "Betting on Hitler-The Value of Political Connections in Nazi Germany," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(1), pages 101-137, 02.
  12. Brian G. Knight & Chun-Fang Chiang, 2008. "Media Bias and Influence: Evidence from Newspaper Endorsements," NBER Working Papers 14445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Stefano DellaVigna & Matthew Gentzkow, 2009. "Persuasion: Empirical Evidence," NBER Working Papers 15298, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Spenkuch, Jörg & Tillmann, Philipp, 2014. "Elite Influence? Religion, Economics, and the Rise of the Nazis," MPRA Paper 54909, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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