Editor’s note: This post is part of a series showcasing Barcelona GSE master projects by students in the Class of 2014. The project is a required component of every master program.
Hate is in the air: The effect of Czech and German radio on elections in pre-war Czechoslovakia
Bruno Baránek, Kryštof Krotil, and Samuel Škoda
In this paper we assess the role of radio broadcasting in parliamentary elections of 1935 in Czechoslovakia. In our main specification, we regress the vote shares of multiple parties on the signal strengths of Czech and German radio while controlling for demographic and socio-economic characteristics. In particular, we focus on SdP – the ethnic German party with separatist tendencies, which was supported by Hitler’s NSDAP. We find that propaganda contained in the German broadcasts had a polarizing effect on the Czechoslovak political spectrum as it increased the number of votes for SdP and also for Czech communists and nationalists. This increase was compensated by the fall in votes for centrist democratic parties. On the other hand, the Czech radio, which was politically neutral, tended to neutralize the effect of the German radio.
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