Political Extremism in the 1920s and 1930s: Do German Lessons Generalize?

Alan de Bromhead, Barry Eichengreen, Kevin O'Rourke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


We examine the impact of the Great Depression on the share of votes for right-wing extremists 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. The impact was greatest in countries with relatively short histories of democracy, with electoral systems that created low hurdles to parliamentary representation, and which had been on the losing side in World War I.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-406
Number of pages36
JournalThe Journal of Economic History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

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