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Political Extremism in the 1920s and 1930s: Do German Lessons Generalize?

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

Abstract

We examine the impact of the Great Depression on the share of votes for right-wing extremists 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. The impact was greatest in countries with relatively short histories of democracy, with electoral systems that created low hurdles to parliamentary representation, and which had been on the losing side in World War I.

Suggested Citation

  • de Bromhead, Alan & Eichengreen, Barry & O'Rourke, Kevin H., 2013. "Political Extremism in the 1920s and 1930s: Do German Lessons Generalize?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 73(02), pages 371-406, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:73:y:2013:i:02:p:371-406_00
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    1. Group, then Threaten: How Bad Ideas Move Millions by Mark Harrison
      by Mark Harrison in Mark Harrison's blog on 2015-03-23 13:00:23

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    Cited by:

    1. Marcel Prokopczuk & Francesco D'Acunto & Michael Weber, 2015. "Distrust in Finance Lingers: Jewish Persecution and Households' Investments," 2015 Meeting Papers 26, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Yann Algan & Sergei Guriev & Elias Papaioannou & Evgenia Passari, 2017. "The European Trust Crisis and the Rise of Populism," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 48(2 (Fall)), pages 309-400.
    3. Doerr, Sebastian & Gissler, Stefan & Peydró, José Luis & Voth, Hans-Joachim, 2018. "From Finance to Extremism: The Real Effects of Germany's 1931 Banking Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 12806, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Autor, David & Dorn, David & Hanson, Gordon & Majlesi, Kaveh, 2016. "Importing Political Polarization? The Electoral Consequences of Rising Trade Exposure," Working Papers 2016:21, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    5. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Alan M. Taylor, 2013. "Cross of Euros," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 167-192, Summer.
    6. Kersting, Felix, 2017. "Coal and Blood: Industrialization and the Rise of Nationalism in Prussia before 1914," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 52, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    7. Aggeborn, Linuz & Persson, Lovisa, 2017. "Public Finance and Right-Wing Populism," Working Paper Series 1182, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    8. Nicholas Crafts, 2014. "What Does the 1930s' Experience Tell Us about the Future of the Eurozone?," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 713-727, July.
    9. repec:wly:jmoncb:v:49:y:2017:i:2-3:p:273-317 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. O'Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj, 2018. "Economic history and contemporary challenges to globalization," CEPR Discussion Papers 13377, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. 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," Economics working papers 2012-05, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    12. Francesco D'Acunto & Marcel Prokopczuk & Michael Weber, 2017. "Historical Antisemitism, Ethnic Specialization, and Financial Development," CESifo Working Paper Series 6643, CESifo Group Munich.
    13. repec:eee:ecolet:v:170:y:2018:i:c:p:59-62 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Cavaille, Charlotte & Ferwerda, Jeremy, 2017. "How Distributional Conflict over Public Spending Drives Support for Anti-Immigrant Parties," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 328, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    15. Roger Middleton, 2016. "Keynes's Economic Consequences of the Peace: A Reappraisal, edited by Jens Hölscher and Matthias Klaes," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(1), pages 154-159, February.
    16. Zhu, Haikun, 2018. "Essays on political economy of finance and fintech," Other publications TiSEM 93f94423-e671-4041-bb24-8, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    17. Dorn, Florian & Fuest, Clemens & Immel, Lea & Neumeier, Florian, 2018. "Inequality and Extremist Voting: Evidence from Germany," Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181598, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    18. Koenig, Christoph, 2015. "Loose Cannons – War Veterans and the Erosion of Democracy in Weimar Germany," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1079, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    19. Gregori Galofré-Vilà & Christopher M. Meissner & Martin McKee & David Stuckler, 2017. "Austerity and the rise of the Nazi party," NBER Working Papers 24106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. repec:ovi:oviste:v:xvii:y:2017:i:2:p:120-125 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Berg, Heléne & Dahlberg, Matz & Vernby, Kåre, 2016. "Post-WWI Military Disarmament and Interwar Fascism: Evidence from Sweden," Working Paper Series 2016:16, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    22. Jérémie Cohen‐Setton & Joshua K. Hausman & Johannes F. Wieland, 2017. "Supply‐Side Policies in the Depression: Evidence from France," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 49(2-3), pages 273-317, March.

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