Does Proximity to Nazi Concentration Camps Make Germans Intolerant? Modeling Spatial Heterogeneity and Historical Persistence

63 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2020 Last revised: 14 Apr 2020

See all articles by Thomas B. Pepinsky

Thomas B. Pepinsky

Cornell University - Department of Government

Sara Wallace Goodman

University of California, Irvine - Department of Political Science

Conrad Ziller

University of Cologne

Date Written: March 2, 2020

Abstract

In a recent article in the American Political Science Review entitled “Legacies of the Third Reich: Concentration Camps and Out-group Intolerance,” Jonathan Homola, Miguel M. Pereira, and Margit Tavits argue that Germans who live nearer to former Nazi concentration camps are more likely to display out-group intolerance. We argue that their statistical findings are the product of unobserved regional heterogeneity. Using publicly available European Values Survey data and electoral results from 2017, we replicate their results, and then extend them using simple fixed effects specifications as well as more elaborate multilevel models. Our approach finds no consistent evidence that distance to camps is related to contemporary values. We also preregister our plan to replicate and extend their analyses using restricted-access data from the German General Social Survey. Our findings have important implications for the new literatures on historical persistence and the deep origins of contemporary politics, as well as for the fields of Holocaust studies, German politics, and out-group tolerance. Our approach to modeling spatial heterogeneity in historical persistence studies—investigating spatial variation and diagnosing why unmodeled heterogeneity can produce misleading inferences—can serve as a template for future studies.

Keywords: intolerance, immigration, persistence, Holocaust, Nazi, AfD, Weimar Republic, Germany, spatial econometrics, fixed effects

Suggested Citation

Pepinsky, Thomas B. and Goodman, Sara Wallace and Ziller, Conrad, Does Proximity to Nazi Concentration Camps Make Germans Intolerant? Modeling Spatial Heterogeneity and Historical Persistence (March 2, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3547321 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3547321

Thomas B. Pepinsky (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Department of Government ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Sara Wallace Goodman

University of California, Irvine - Department of Political Science ( email )

Irvine, CA 92697
United States

Conrad Ziller

University of Cologne ( email )

Albertus Magnus Platz
Cologne, 50923
Germany

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