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Radio and the rise of Nazi in pre-war Germany

Listed author(s):
  • 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
Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc13:79876
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.socialpolitik.org/
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  8. Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2012. "Persecution Perpetuated: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Semitic Violence in Nazi Germany," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1339-1392.
  9. Stefano DellaVigna & Ethan Kaplan, 2007. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1187-1234.
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  11. 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.
  12. Stefano Della Vigna & Ruben Enikolopov & Vera Mironova & Maria Petrova & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2014. "Cross-Border Media and Nationalism: Evidence from Serbian Radio in Croatia," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 103-132, July.
  13. 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.
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  16. 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.
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