Heroes and Villains: The Effects of Heroism on Autocratic Values and Nazi Collaboration in France

91 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2021 Last revised: 22 Jul 2022

See all articles by Julia Cage

Julia Cage

Sciences Po Paris Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Anna Dagorret

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Pauline A. Grosjean

UNSW Business School, School of Economics

Saumitra Jha

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Date Written: July 4, 2022

Abstract

We measure how a network of heroes can legitimize and diffuse extreme political behaviors. We
exploit newly-declassified intelligence files, novel voting data and regimental histories to show that
home municipalities of French line regiments arbitrarily rotated under Philippe P´etain’s generalship
through the heroic WWI battlefield of Verdun diverge politically thereafter, particularly following
P´etain’s own overt espousal of authoritarian views. Further, under P´etain’s collaborationist Vichy
regime (1940-44), they raise 7% more active Nazi collaborators per capita. These effects extend
across all forms of Nazi collaboration and diffuse beyond the veterans themselves.

Keywords: Heroes, Leaders, Democratic Values, Autocracy, Identity, Networks, Votes, Legitimacy

JEL Classification: D74, N44, L14

Suggested Citation

Cage, Julia and Dagorret, Anna and Grosjean, Pauline A. and Jha, Saumitra, Heroes and Villains: The Effects of Heroism on Autocratic Values and Nazi Collaboration in France (July 4, 2022). Stanford University Graduate School of Business Research Paper No. 3923, UNSW Business School Research Paper Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3753869 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3753869

Julia Cage

Sciences Po Paris Department of Economics ( email )

28 Rue des Saints-Pères
Paris, 75007
France

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Anna Dagorret

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, 94305
United States

Pauline A. Grosjean

UNSW Business School, School of Economics ( email )

High Street
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

Saumitra Jha (Contact Author)

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

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