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(Re-) Shaping hatred: Anti-Semitic attitudes in Germany, 1890-2006

Nico Voigtländer () and Hans-Joachim Voth

Economics Working Papers from Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Abstract: In this paper, we assess the determinants of long-run persistence of local culture, and examine the success of policy interventions designed to change attitudes. We analyze anti-Semitic attitudes drawing on individual-level survey results from Germany’s social value survey in 1996 and 2006. On average, we find that historical voting patterns for anti-Semitic parties between 1890 and 1933 are powerful predictors of anti-Jewish attitudes today. There is evidence that transmission takes place both vertically (parent to child) and horizontally (among peers). Policy modified German views on Jews in important ways: The cohort that grew up under the Nazi regime shows significantly higher levels of anti-Semitism. After 1945, the victorious Allies implemented denazification programs in their zones of occupation. We use differences in these policies between the occupying powers as a source of identifying variation. The US and French zones today still show high anti-Semitism, reflecting an ambitious botched attempt at denazification. In contrast, the British and Soviet zones, register much lower levels of Jew-hatred.

Date: 2012-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his
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Working Paper: (Re-) Shaping Hatred: Anti-Semitic Attitudes in Germany, 1890-2006 (2012) Downloads
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