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Bowling for Fascism: Social Capital and the Rise of the Nazi Party

Author

Listed:
  • Shanker Satyanath
  • Nico Voigtlaender
  • Hans-Joachim Voth

Abstract

Social capital is often associated with desirable political and economic outcomes. This paper contributes to the literature exploring the “dark side” of social capital, examining the downfall of democracy in interwar Germany. We collect new data on the density of associations in 229 German towns and cities. Denser networks of clubs and societies went hand-in-hand with a more rapid rise of the Nazi Party. Towns with one standard deviation higher association density saw at least 15% faster Nazi Party entry. All types of societies – from veteran associations to animal breeders, chess clubs and choirs – positively predict NS Party entry. Party membership, in turn, is correlated with electoral success. These results suggest that social capital aided the rise of the Nazi movement that ultimately destroyed Germany’s first democracy. Crucially, we examine the question when a vibrant civic society can have corrosive effects. We show that the effects of social capital depended on the political context – in federal states with more stable governments, higher association density was not associated with faster Nazi Party entry.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19201
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bai, Jushan & Ng, Serena, 2010. "Instrumental Variable Estimation In A Data Rich Environment," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(06), pages 1577-1606, December.
    2. Winkelried, D. & Smith, R.J., 2011. "Principal Components Instrumental Variable Estimation," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1119, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
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    Cited by:

    1. Spenkuch, Jörg & Tillmann, Philipp, 2014. "Elite Influence? Religion, Economics, and the Rise of the Nazis," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100491, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Sergei Guriev & Maxim Ananiev, 2015. "Effect of Income on Trust: Evidence from the 2009 Crisis in Russia," Sciences Po publications 2015-02, Sciences Po.
    3. Bracco, E. & De Paola, M. & Green, C.P., 2015. "Long lasting differences in civic capital: Evidence from a unique immigration event in Italy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 160-173.
    4. Melissa Dell & Nathaniel Lane & Pablo Querubin, 2017. "The Historical State, Local Collective Action, and Economic Development in Vietnam," NBER Working Papers 23208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Maja Adena & Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Veronica Santarosa & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2015. "Radio and the Rise of The Nazis in Prewar Germany," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(4), pages 1885-1939.
    6. Maxim Ananiev & Sergei Guriev, 2014. "The Effect of Income on Trust: the Evidence from 2009 Crisis in Russia," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/8lt2edmul9g, Sciences Po.
    7. Pauline Grosjean, 2014. "Conflict and Social and Political Preferences: Evidence from World War II and Civil Conflict in 35 European Countries," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 56(3), pages 424-451, September.
    8. 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.
    9. Maja Adena & Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Veronica Santarosa & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2013. "Radio and the Rise of the Nazis in Prewar Germany," Working Papers halshs-00858992, HAL.
    10. repec:eee:jpolmo:v:39:y:2017:i:5:p:790-808 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Matthias Blum & Alan de Bromhead, 2017. "Rise and Fall in the Third Reich: Social Mobility and Nazi Membership," Economics Working Papers 17-01, Queen's Management School, Queen's University Belfast.
    12. Charron, Nicholas & Rothstein, Bo, 2016. "Does education lead to higher generalized trust? The importance of quality of government," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 59-73.
    13. SHIMAMOTO Daichi & TODO Yasuyuki, 2015. "Economic and Political Networks and Firm Openness: Evidence from Indonesia," Discussion papers 15084, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    14. Stefano Carattini & Simon Levin & Alessandro Tavoni, 2017. "Cooperation in the climate commons," GRI Working Papers 259, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    15. Lisa D. Cook & Trevon D. Logan & John M. Parman, 2017. "Racial Segregation and Southern Lynching," NBER Working Papers 23813, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Maja Adena & Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Veronica Santarosa & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2013. "Radio and the Rise of the Nazis in Prewar Germany," PSE Working Papers halshs-00858992, HAL.
    17. Margarita Gáfaro & Ana Maria Ibáñez & Patricia Justino, 2014. "Local Institutions and Armed Group Presence in Colombia," HiCN Working Papers 178, Households in Conflict Network.
    18. Margarita Gáfaro & Ana Maria Ibáñez & Patricia Justino, 2014. "Collective Action and Armed Group Presence in Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 011951, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.

    More about this item

    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

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