46 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2015
Date Written: October 31, 2015
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: Suggested Citation