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Highway to Hitler

University of Zurich, Department of Economics, Working Paper No. 156

38 Pages Posted: 21 May 2014 Last revised: 5 Jun 2014

Nico Voigtländer

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

Hans-Joachim Voth

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

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 19, 2014

Abstract

Can infrastructure investment win “hearts and minds”? We analyze a famous case in the early stages of dictatorship – the building of the motorway network in Nazi Germany. The Autobahn was one of the most important projects of the Hitler government. It was intended to reduce unemployment, and was widely used for propaganda purposes. We examine its role in increasing support for the NS regime by analyzing new data on motorway construction and the 1934 plebiscite, which gave Hitler great powers as head of state. Our results suggest that road building was highly effective, reducing opposition to the nascent Nazi regime.

Keywords: political economy, infrastructure spending, establishment of dictatorships, pork‐barrel politics, Nazi regime

JEL Classification: H54, P16, N44, N94

Suggested Citation

Voigtländer, Nico and Voth, Hans-Joachim, Highway to Hitler (May 19, 2014). University of Zurich, Department of Economics, Working Paper No. 156. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2438680 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2438680

Nico Voigtländer (Contact Author)

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

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

Hans-Joachim Voth

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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