May 21, 2014

Highway to Hitler

In this paper Nico Voigtländer & Hans‐Joachim Both examine if building infrastructure projects decreases government opposition before elections and they use the case of the Hitler regime. They find that actually localities where a major highway was built (or close to it) show a reduction in opposition (higher support) to the Nazi Regime. 
. . . Our findings show that infrastructure spending can effectively enhance the political entrenchment of a dictatorship – and the Nazi Regime’s early rise in popularity matters because it effectively laid the foundations for the later war and genocide. 
When we examine changes in opposition in the sample as a whole, and in areas of motorway construction, we find a striking pattern: in areas that saw highway‐building in 1933/34, opposition to the Nazi Party was higher to start (Nov. 33); but by August 1934, opposition had fallen substantially. In the sample as a whole, average opposition declined by 1.6%; where the roads were built, it fell by 2.4%. 
They perform a variety of robustness cheeks, and I am only worried about the seemingly low power of the regressions in some cases.  

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