DP8935 | (Re-) Shaping Hatred: Anti-Semitic Attitudes in Germany, 1890-2006

Publication Date

01/04/2012

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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.