Austerity and the Rise of the Nazi Party
45 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2017
Date Written: December 2017
The current historical consensus on the economic causes of the inexorable Nazi electoral success between 1930 and 1933 suggests this was largely related to the Treaty of Versailles and the Great Depression. Alternatively, it has been speculated that contractionary fiscal austerity measures contributed to votes for the Nazi party. Voting data from 1,024 districts and 98 cities shows that Chancellor Brüning’s austerity measures (spending cuts and tax increases) were positively associated with increasing vote shares for the Nazi party. We also find that the suffering due to austerity (measured by mortality rates) radicalized the German electorate. Our findings are robust to a range of specifications including an instrumental variable strategy and a border-pair policy discontinuity design.
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