Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2284907
 


 



Bowling for Fascism: Social Capital and the Rise of the Nazi Party in Weimar Germany, 1919-33


Shanker Satyanath


New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics

Nico Voigtländer


University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Hans-Joachim Voth


University of Zurich - UBS International Center of Economics in Society; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

August 10, 2013


Abstract:     
Social capital typically leads to positive political and economic outcomes. A growing literature also emphasizes the potentially “dark side” of social capital. This paper examines the role of social capital in the downfall of democracy in interwar Germany. We analyze Nazi Party entry in a cross-section of cities. Dense networks of civic associations such as bowling clubs, choirs, and animal breeders facilitated the Nazi Party’s rise. 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. 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 depended on the institutional context – in Prussia, where democratic institutions were stronger, the link between party entry and association density was markedly weaker.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 60

Keywords: social capital, democracy, political economy, Weimar Germany, Nazi Party

JEL Classification: N44, P16, Z10

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Date posted: June 27, 2013 ; Last revised: August 11, 2013

Suggested Citation

Satyanath, Shanker and Voigtländer, Nico and Voth, Hans-Joachim, Bowling for Fascism: Social Capital and the Rise of the Nazi Party in Weimar Germany, 1919-33 (August 10, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2284907 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2284907

Contact Information

Shanker Satyanath
New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics ( email )
715 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
United States
Nico Voigtländer
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management ( email )
110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States
+1-310-794 6382 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/faculty/nico.v/
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Hans-Joachim Voth (Contact Author)
University of Zurich - UBS International Center of Economics in Society ( email )
Raemistrasse 71
Zuerich, 8006
Switzerland
Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom
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