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(Re-) Shaping hatred: Anti-Semitic attitudes in Germany, 1890-2006

  • Nico Voigtländer
  • Joachim Voth

In this paper, we assess the determinants of long-run persistence of local culture, and examine the success of policy interventions designed to change attitudes. We analyze anti-Semitic attitudes drawing on individual-level survey results from Germany’s social value survey in 1996 and 2006. On average, we find that historical voting patterns for anti-Semitic parties between 1890 and 1933 are powerful predictors of anti-Jewish attitudes today. There is evidence that transmission takes place both vertically (parent to child) and horizontally (among peers). Policy modified German views on Jews in important ways: The cohort that grew up under the Nazi regime shows significantly higher levels of anti-Semitism. After 1945, the victorious Allies implemented denazification programs in their zones of occupation. We use differences in these policies between the occupying powers as a source of identifying variation. The US and French zones today still show high anti-Semitism, reflecting an ambitious botched attempt at denazification. In contrast, the British and Soviet zones, register much lower levels of Jew-hatred.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1344.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1344
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