The radicalisation of the German electorate: Swinging to the Right and the Left in the twilight of the Weimar Republic
ST GBAUER, CHRISTIAN
This article analyses the impact of the onset of the Great Depression on voting patterns at the local level in the final years of the Weimar Republic. A special pooled longitudinal/cross sectional, fixed-effects approach with spatial autocorrelation (EGLS) is used in order to simultaneously estimate the popularity determinants for the entire system of political parties for each of the 830 localities in our data set. By analysing the determinants for the vote shares of all major parties/party blocs we demonstrate unequivocally that the economic crisis was the crucial prerequisite for the political collapse of the Weimar Republic. In contrast to other empirical studies in this field, we use an essentially longitudinal approach by which we can completely avoid the problems associated with ecological inference and show that unemployment had a strong positive effect in favour of the National Socialists. Because of using aggregated data, we cannot, however, distinguish between egotropic and sociotropic voting behaviour.
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