Highway to Hitler

46 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2015  

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: October 31, 2015

Abstract

Can infrastructure investment win “hearts and minds”? We analyze a famous case – the building of the highway network in Nazi Germany. Construction began shortly after Hitler’s takeover of the government, and was one of the regime’s most important projects. We collect new data on highway construction, and examine its role in increasing support for the Nazi regime during the period that led up to the 1934 referendum. The plebiscite merged the offices of chancellor and president, establishing Hitler’s supreme power as Führer. Our results suggest that highway construction was highly effective, building popular support and helping to entrench the Nazi dictatorship.

Keywords: political economy, entrenchment of dictatorships, infrastructure spending

JEL Classification: H54, P16, N44, N94

Suggested Citation

Voigtländer, Nico and Voth, Hans-Joachim, Highway to Hitler (October 31, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2684404 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2684404

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

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

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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