Performance and Promotions in an Autocracy: Evidence from Nazi Germany
43 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2019
Date Written: October 1, 2018
Scholars of autocracies are increasingly debating whether autocratic regimes promote their subordinates based on achievements. Using the career tracks of the regional leaders of the German Nazi Party, the Gauleiters, from 1936 to 1944, we examine whether performance mattered for promotions within the Nazi state. The results show that better regional economic performance increased the chance of receiving a promotion before the outbreak of World War II but not after. In contrast, seniority within the Nazi Party is associated with a higher likelihood of promotion after the outbreak of the war but not before. This suggests a shift from performance to loyalty as a promotion criterion during the war. The results indicate that the extent to which autocratic regimes reward economic performance varies, depending on internal and external threats and the regime's ability to monitor its subordinates' performance.
Keywords: Authoritarian Regimes, Nazi Germany, Economic Performance, Promotions
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