Political extremism in the 1920s and 1930s: Do german lessons generalize?

Alan De Bromhead, Barry Eichengreen, Kevin H. O'Rourke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


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 (US)
Pages (from-to)371-406
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Economic History
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


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