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Radio and the rise of Nazi in pre-war Germany

  • Adena, Maja
  • Enikolopov, Ruben
  • Petrova, Maria
  • Santarosa, Veronica
  • Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina

How far can media undermine democratic institutions and how persuasive can it be in assuring public support for dictator policies? We study this question in the context of Germany before World War II, between 1929 and 1939. First, we estimate the impact of radio signal on voting for the Nazi party before and after Nazi got control over the content of the broadcast. Prior to Hitler s appointment as chancellor, the radio, broadcasting cultural programs and some political news with an anti-Nazi slant, had a substantial negative effect on voting for the Nazi party. This negative effect was fully undone in just one month before the last competitive pre-war election following Hitler s appointment in 1933, which resulted in the change of radio content to heavy pro-Nazi propaganda. In the last few months that Germany remained democracy, the persuasion power of pro-Nazi propaganda was smaller than that of the anti-Nazi radio. Second, we examine the impact of the radio after Nazi fully consolidated power. Radio propaganda helped Nazi to enroll new party members and encouraged denunciations of Jews and other open expressions of anti-Semitism. Radio was most effective as propaganda tool when combined with other tools, such as Hitler s speeches, and when the message was more aligned with listeners priors as measured by historical variation in anti-Semitism.

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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association in its series Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order with number 79876.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc13:79876
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.socialpolitik.org/
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  1. Shanker Satyanath & Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2014. "Bowling for fascism: social capital and the rise of the Nazi Party," ECON - Working Papers 147, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  2. Ruben Durante & Brian Knight, 2012. "Partisan Control, Media Bias, And Viewer Responses: Evidence From Berlusconi'S Italy," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 451-481, 05.
  3. Alan Gerber & Daniel Bergan & Dean Karlan, 2006. "Does the media matter? A field experiment measuring the effect of newspapers on voting behavior and political opinions," Natural Field Experiments 00252, The Field Experiments Website.
  4. Stefano DellaVigna & Ethan Kaplan, 2006. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," NBER Working Papers 12169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. King, Gary & Rosen, Ori & Tanner, Martin & Wagner, Alexander F., 2008. "Ordinary Economic Voting Behavior in the Extraordinary Election of Adolf Hitler," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(04), pages 951-996, December.
  6. Besley, Timothy J. & Prat, Andrea, 2002. "Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability," CEPR Discussion Papers 3132, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Stefano DellaVigna & Matthew Gentzkow, 2009. "Persuasion: Empirical Evidence," NBER Working Papers 15298, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521855266 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Benjamin A. Olken, 2009. "Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence from Indonesian Villages," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 1-33, October.
  10. Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2010. "Media and Political Persuasion: Evidence from Russia," Working Papers w0149, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  11. Della Vigna, Stefano & Enikolopov, Ruben & Mironova, Vera & Petrova, Maria & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2013. "Cross-border media and nationalism: Evidence from Serbian radio in Croatia," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1312, CEPREMAP.
  12. Chun-Fang Chiang & Brian Knight, 2011. "Media Bias and Influence: Evidence from Newspaper Endorsements," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(3), pages 795-820.
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