P2P - Past to Present: Do Historical Institutions of Terror Influence People's Outgroup Attitudes Today?


Theoretical background and objectives

Incidents that happened several hundred years ago still have a great influence on the world we live in today. For example, Nunn (2008) found a direct connection between the degree of African slave trade between 1400 and 1900 and the current economic situation of a region today. Other studies found a positive link between the presence of a missionary before 1904 and literacy rates in villages in Africa and South America today (Cage & Rueda, 2016; Caicedo, 2014).

In the P2P project we examine, whether the presence of an institution of terror in Nazi Germany still influences the attitudes towards outgroups and support for right wing radicalism of the residence in the area today. We focus on concentration and work camps in Germany between 1933 and 1945 and compare districts in the surroundings of former institutions of terror to those without a concentration or work camp in the direct or distantneighbourhood.While there is a vast literature on how exposure to past injustice shapes present day outgroup attitudes (Adena, Enikolopov, Petrova, Santarosa & Zhuravskaya, 2015; Feyrer & Sacerdote, 2009), no prior research has investigated the effect of former concentration camps on Germans of today. We are eager to close this research-gap, since the literature on the effect of other historical institutions, e.g. colonialism or on contemporary attitudes, is very promising (Rink, 2016).

Methodologically, we use a quasi-experimental approach and combine it with quantitative measures. We are going to analyze election results, socio-economic measures, as well as attitudes towards immigrants and Germany, and take the potential influence of holocaust memorial work into account.

2017 -