Highway to Hitler
University of Zurich, Department of Economics, Working Paper No. 156
38 Pages Posted: 21 May 2014 Last revised: 5 Jun 2014
Date Written: May 19, 2014
Can infrastructure investment win “hearts and minds”? We analyze a famous case in the early stages of dictatorship – the building of the motorway network in Nazi Germany. The Autobahn was one of the most important projects of the Hitler government. It was intended to reduce unemployment, and was widely used for propaganda purposes. We examine its role in increasing support for the NS regime by analyzing new data on motorway construction and the 1934 plebiscite, which gave Hitler great powers as head of state. Our results suggest that road building was highly effective, reducing opposition to the nascent Nazi regime.
Keywords: political economy, infrastructure spending, establishment of dictatorships, pork‐barrel politics, Nazi regime
JEL Classification: H54, P16, N44, N94
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation