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Cooperation, defection and resistance in Nazi Germany

Author

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  • Geerling, Wayne
  • Magee, Gary B.
  • Brooks, Robert

Abstract

This article uses the court records of a sample of individuals, aged between 15 and 62, tried for high treason in Nazi Germany to analyze a rare, real-world prisoner's-dilemma-like scenario that resisters faced once taken into custody: keep quiet and protect their collaborators or turn informant in the hope of obtaining leniency? We find that, although self-interest and defection to the authorities was the norm for most, significant rates of cooperation remained. We also find evidence that the size of the stake, age, education, beliefs, affiliations, and sense of community could play roles in facilitating cooperative behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Geerling, Wayne & Magee, Gary B. & Brooks, Robert, 2015. "Cooperation, defection and resistance in Nazi Germany," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 125-139.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:58:y:2015:i:c:p:125-139
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2015.04.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ramalho, Esmeralda A. & Ramalho, Joaquim J.S., 2010. "Is neglected heterogeneity really an issue in binary and fractional regression models? A simulation exercise for logit, probit and loglog models," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 987-1001, April.
    2. Marcel Fafchamps, 2004. "Social Capital and Development," Economics Series Working Papers 214, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. John A. List, 2006. "Friend or Foe? A Natural Experiment of the Prisoner's Dilemma," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 463-471, August.
    4. Shanker Satyanath & Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2013. "Bowling for Fascism: Social Capital and the Rise of the Nazi Party in Weimar Germany, 1919-33," Working Papers 703, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    5. repec:feb:framed:0077 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Kocher, Martin G. & Martinsson, Peter & Visser, Martine, 2008. "Does stake size matter for cooperation and punishment?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(3), pages 508-511, June.
    7. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, 2004. "Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior: Testing "Conditional Cooperation" in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1717-1722, December.
    8. Durlauf, Steven N. & Fafchamps, Marcel, 2005. "Social Capital," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 26, pages 1639-1699 Elsevier.
    9. 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.
    10. Durlauf, Steven N. & Fafchamps, Marcel, 2005. "Social Capital," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 26, pages 1639-1699 Elsevier.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Nazi Germany; German resistance; Prisoner's dilemma; Cooperation; Social preferences;

    JEL classification:

    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N94 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: 1913-
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles

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