Migrating Extremists

58 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2016

See all articles by Christian Ochsner

Christian Ochsner

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Felix Roesel

TU Braunschweig

Date Written: March 10, 2016


We show that migrating extremists shape political landscapes toward their ideology in the long run. We exploit the unexpected division of the state of Upper Austria into a US and a Soviet occupation zone after WWII. Zoning prompts large-scale Nazi migration to US occupied regions. Regions that witnessed a Nazi influx exhibit significantly higher voting shares for the right-wing Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) throughout the entire post-WWII period, but not before WWII. We can exclude other channels that may have affected post-war elections, including differences in US and Soviet denazification and occupation policies, bomb attacks, Volksdeutsche refugees and suppression by other political parties. We show that extremism is transmitted through family ties and local party branches. We find that the surnames of FPÖ local election candidates in 2015 in the former US zone are more prevalent in 1942 phonebook data (Reichstelefonbuch) of the former Soviet zone compared to other parties.

Keywords: political economy, migration, extremism, voting, geonomastics, Austria

JEL Classification: R23, D72, N44, Z13

Suggested Citation

Ochsner, Christian and Roesel, Felix, Migrating Extremists (March 10, 2016). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 5799, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2763513 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2763513

Christian Ochsner (Contact Author)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679

Felix Roesel

TU Braunschweig ( email )


Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics