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Right Wing Political Extremism in the Great Depression

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  • Kevin Hjortshøj O'Rourke
  • Alan de Bromhead

Abstract

We examine the impact of the Great Depression on the share of votes for right-wing anti-system parties 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. But the effect of the Depression on support for right-wing anti-system parties was not equally powerful under all economic, political and social circumstances. It was greatest in countries with relatively short histories of democracy, with existing extremist parties, and with electoral systems that created low hurdles to parliamentary representation. Above all, it was greatest where depressed economic conditions were allowed to persist.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin Hjortshøj O'Rourke & Alan de Bromhead, 2012. "Right Wing Political Extremism in the Great Depression," Economics Series Working Papers Number 95, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:number-95
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Eric B. Schneider, 2014. "Prices and production: agricultural supply response in fourteenth-century England," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(1), pages 66-91, February.
    2. Schneider, Eric B., 2013. "Real wages and the family: Adjusting real wages to changing demography in pre-modern England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 99-115.
    3. 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.
    4. Funke, Manuel & Schularick, Moritz & Trebesch, Christoph, 2016. "Going to extremes: Politics after financial crises, 1870–2014," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 227-260.
    5. repec:bla:ecaffa:v:37:y:2017:i:3:p:382-396 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Aled Davies, 2012. "The Evolution of British Monetarism: 1968-1979," Economics Series Working Papers Number 104, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    7. Nicholas Crafts, 2013. "Long-Term Growth in Europe: What Difference does the Crisis Make?," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 224(1), pages 14-28, May.
    8. Jacopo Ponticelli & Joachim Voth, 2011. "Austerity and anarchy: Budget cuts and social unrest in Europe, 1919-2008," Economics Working Papers 1342, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2012.
    9. Xiaohuan Lan & Ben G. Li, 2015. "The Economics of Nationalism," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 294-325, May.
    10. Martin Halla & Alexander F. Wagner & Josef Zweimüller, 2012. "Immigration and voting for the extreme right," ECON - Working Papers 083, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Oct 2013.
    11. Scott Urban, 2014. "Policy Options for the Euro: Heterodoxy Ahead," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 742-757, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Great Depression; Political extremism; Voting;

    JEL classification:

    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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