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Radio and the rise of the Nazis in prewar Germany

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

How do the media affect public support for democratic institutions in a fragile democracy? What role do they play in a dictatorial regime? We study these questions in the context of Germany of the 1920s and 1930s. During the democratic period, when the Weimar government introduced progovernment political news, the growth of Nazi popularity slowed down in areas with access to radio. This effect was reversed during the campaign for the last competitive election as a result of the pro- Nazi radio broadcast following Hitler's appointment as German chancellor. During the consolidation of dictatorship, radio propaganda helped the Nazis to enroll new party members. After the Nazis established their rule, radio propaganda incited anti-Semitic acts and denunciations of Jews to authorities by ordinary Germans. The effect of anti-Semitic propaganda varied depending on the listeners' predispositions toward the message. Nazi radio was most effective in places where anti- Semitism was historically high and had a negative effect in places with historically low anti-Semitism.

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Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change with number SP II 2013-310.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbeoc:spii2013310
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  1. Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2009. "Media and Political Persuasion: Evidence from Russia," Working Papers w0113, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
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  4. Shanker Satyanath & Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2013. "Bowling for Fascism: Social Capital and the Rise of the Nazi Party in Weimar Germany, 1919-33," Working Papers 703, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  5. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2000. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," NBER Working Papers 7831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. 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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  10. Nico Voigtländer & Joachim Voth, 2011. "Persecution perpetuated: The medieval origins of anti-semitic violence in Nazi Germany," Economics Working Papers 1269, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  11. Timothy Besley & Andrea Prat, 2005. "Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 07, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  12. David Strömberg, 2004. "Radio's Impact on Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 189-221, February.
  13. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521855266 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. 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.
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  16. 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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