Right Wing Political Extremism in the Great Depression
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.
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