Right Wing Political Extremism in the Great Depression

37 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2012

See all articles by Alan de Bromhead

Alan de Bromhead

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Barry Eichengreen

University of California, Berkeley; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Kevin O'Rourke

University of Oxford

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2012

Abstract

We examine the impact of the Great Depression on the share of votes for right-wing anti-system parties in elections in the 1920s and 1930s. We confirm the existence of a link between political extremism and economic hard times as captured by growth or contraction of the economy. What mattered was not simply growth at the time of the election but cumulative growth performance. But the effect of the Depression on support for right-wing anti-system parties was not equally powerful under all economic, political and social circumstances. It was greatest in countries with relatively short histories of democracy, with existing extremist parties, and with electoral systems that created low hurdles to parliamentary representation. Above all, it was greatest where depressed economic conditions were allowed to persist.

Keywords: Great Depression, political extremism, voting

JEL Classification: D72, N10

Suggested Citation

de Bromhead, Alan and Eichengreen, Barry and O'Rourke, Kevin, Right Wing Political Extremism in the Great Depression (February 2012). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP8876, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2034094

Alan De Bromhead (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Barry Eichengreen

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Kevin O'Rourke

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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