Hans-Joachim Voth, 20 August 2021

In 1932, Hitler and his followers believed that marching through the streets in uniform would convince the German public to vote them into power. But did the flags, songs and stomping boots actually persuade people? Hans-Joachim Voth tells Tim Phillips how polling data (and the spread of a pandemic) reveal whether this type of propaganda actually worked.

Read more about the research behind this Vox Talk:

Caesmann, M, Caprettini, B, Voth, H and Yanagizawa-Drott, D. 2021. 'Going Viral: Propaganda, Persuasion and Polarization in 1932 Hamburg'. CEPR

Mathias Thoenig, 08 January 2021

A new study uses detailed data on the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany to investigate why individuals become refugees. Mathias Thoenig tells Tim Phillips about a simple policy that would have saved hundreds of thousands of lives in the 1930s, but is still ignored today.

Maja Adena, Ruben Enikolopov, Maria Petrova, Hans-Joachim Voth, 19 November 2020

In conflicts, adversaries aim for victory by using both direct and indirect forces to break the enemy’s will to resist. During WWII, Allied forces used strategic bombing and radio propaganda to undermine German morale. This column compares German domestic resistance to the Nazi regime, based on treason trial records, with the monthly volume of bombing and the locations of BBC radio transmitters. Where radio reception was better and Allied air forces bombed more heavily, German domestic resistance was markedly more likely, despite the draconian punishments for even the mildest transgressions.

Albrecht Ritschl, 30 May 2019

Germany’s Jewish population share in 1933 was less than 1%. Nevertheless, Nazi propa­gan­da believed in the existence of fabulous riches, with some estimates rising as high as 20% of national wealth. This column uses taxation data collected for the Allied military govern­ments after 1945 to revisit these claims. Under plausible assumptions, the Jewish-owned share of Germany’s private real capital stock broadly matched the population share, with an upper-bound estimate of 1.6%. 

Kilian Huber, Volker Lindenthal, Fabian Waldinger, 08 October 2018

Trump’s travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority countries sparked an outcry from businesses about their ability to recruit and retain talent. This column analyses the effect of the Nazis' purge of Jewish managers from German firms to understand the economic consequences of such discriminatory policies. Results show robust losses in terms of stock prices and dividend payments of affected firms. The policy reduced the aggregate market valuation of firms listed in Berlin by 1.78% of German gross national product.

Nico Voigtländer, Hans-Joachim Voth, 18 June 2015

Radical beliefs and violent hatred are back in the headlines and worrying policymakers around the world. This column discusses new research that suggests that, in the case of Nazi Germany, subjecting an entire population to the full power of a totalitarian state was extremely effective in instilling lasting hatred. Extremist views are still three times higher among Germans born in the 1930s than those born after 1950. However, family and the social environment can isolate young minds from the effects of indoctrination at least to some extent.

Johann Custodis, 18 September 2012

There were 35 million prisoners of war in WWII. This column presents new research on the use of their labour in Nazi Germany, quantifying the economic impact on the Nazi wartime economy.

Hans-Joachim Voth, Nico Voigtländer, 01 May 2012

The persecution of Jews during WWII is one of the darkest and most puzzling chapters of recent history. This column asks how economics can help our understanding, particularly of how people’s attitudes to Jews have changed over time. It argues that ‘cultural economics’ shows that there is more to understanding how people behave than looking at their incentives.

Hans-Joachim Voth, 05 September 2008

From Indonesia and Malaysia to Italy, politically connected firms are more valuable than their less fortunate competitors. Yet a key event in the history of the twentieth century has not been examined in terms of the value of political connections: the Nazi rise to power. In an interview recorded at the annual congress of the European Economic Association in Budapest in August 2007, Joachim Voth talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his research with Thomas Ferguson on this question.

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