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Bowling for fascism: social capital and the rise of the Nazi Party

Author

Listed:
  • Shanker Satyanath
  • Nico Voigtländer
  • Hans-Joachim Voth

Abstract

Social capital is often associated with desirable political and economic outcomes. This paper contributes to a growing literature on its "dark side". We examine the role of social capital in the downfall of democracy in interwar Germany. We analyze Nazi Party entry in a cross-section of cities, and show that dense networks of civic associations such as bowling clubs, choirs, and animal breeders went hand-in-hand with a rapid rise of the Nazi Party. Towns with one standard deviation higher association density saw at least one-third faster entry. All types of associations – veteran associations and non-military clubs, “bridging” and “bonding” associations – positively predict NS Party entry. Party membership, in turn, predicts electoral success. These results suggest that social capital aided the rise of the Nazi movement that ultimately destroyed Germany’s first democracy. We also show that the effects of social capital were more important in the starting phase of the Nazi movement, and in towns less sympathetic to its message.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:147
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bai, Jushan & Ng, Serena, 2010. "Instrumental Variable Estimation In A Data Rich Environment," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(06), pages 1577-1606, December.
    2. Winkelried, D. & Smith, R.J., 2011. "Principal Components Instrumental Variable Estimation," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1119, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Singing for Hitler – Choirs, Clubs and the Third Reich
      by Chris Colvin in NEP-HIS blog on 2014-06-24 22:44:24

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Spenkuch, Jörg & Tillmann, Philipp, 2014. "Elite Influence? Religion, Economics, and the Rise of the Nazis," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100491, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Sergei Guriev & Maxim Ananiev, 2015. "Effect of Income on Trust: Evidence from the 2009 Crisis in Russia," Sciences Po publications 2015-02, Sciences Po.
    3. Bracco, E. & De Paola, M. & Green, C.P., 2015. "Long lasting differences in civic capital: Evidence from a unique immigration event in Italy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 160-173.
    4. Melissa Dell & Nathaniel Lane & Pablo Querubin, 2017. "The Historical State, Local Collective Action, and Economic Development in Vietnam," NBER Working Papers 23208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Maja Adena & Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Veronica Santarosa & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2015. "Radio and the Rise of The Nazis in Prewar Germany," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(4), pages 1885-1939.
    6. Maxim Ananiev & Sergei Guriev, 2014. "The Effect of Income on Trust: the Evidence from 2009 Crisis in Russia," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/8lt2edmul9g, Sciences Po.
    7. Pauline Grosjean, 2014. "Conflict and Social and Political Preferences: Evidence from World War II and Civil Conflict in 35 European Countries," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 56(3), pages 424-451, September.
    8. Geerling, Wayne & Magee, Gary B. & Brooks, Robert, 2015. "Cooperation, defection and resistance in Nazi Germany," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 125-139.
    9. Matthias Blum & Alan de Bromhead, 2017. "Rise and Fall in the Third Reich: Social Mobility and Nazi Membership," Economics Working Papers 17-01, Queen's Management School, Queen's University Belfast.
    10. Charron, Nicholas & Rothstein, Bo, 2016. "Does education lead to higher generalized trust? The importance of quality of government," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 59-73.
    11. SHIMAMOTO Daichi & TODO Yasuyuki, 2015. "Economic and Political Networks and Firm Openness: Evidence from Indonesia," Discussion papers 15084, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    12. Stefano Carattini & Simon Levin & Alessandro Tavoni, 2017. "Cooperation in the climate commons," GRI Working Papers 259, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    13. Lisa D. Cook & Trevon D. Logan & John M. Parman, 2017. "Racial Segregation and Southern Lynching," NBER Working Papers 23813, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Maja Adena & Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Veronica Santarosa & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2013. "Radio and the Rise of the Nazis in Prewar Germany," PSE Working Papers halshs-00858992, HAL.
    15. Margarita Gáfaro & Ana Maria Ibáñez & Patricia Justino, 2014. "Local Institutions and Armed Group Presence in Colombia," HiCN Working Papers 178, Households in Conflict Network.
    16. Margarita Gáfaro & Ana Maria Ibáñez & Patricia Justino, 2014. "Collective Action and Armed Group Presence in Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 011951, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social capital; democracy; institutions; associations; networks;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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