Staff Reports
Pandemics Change Cities: Municipal Spending and Voter Extremism in Germany, 1918-1933
Number 921
May 2020 Revised June 2020

JEL classification: H3, H4, I15, N14

Authors: Kristian S. Blickle

This paper uses several historical data-sets from Germany to show that influenza mortality in 1918-1920 was correlated with (i) lower per-capita spending, especially on services consumed by the young, in the following decade and (ii) the share of votes received by extremist parties in 1932 and 1933. These results are robust when controlling for demographics, population changes, city-level wages, city-level exposure to hyperinflation in 1923, and regional unemployment, and when instrumenting influenza mortality.

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Kristian Blickle
The author declares that he has no relevant or material financial interests that relate to the research described in this paper. Prior to circulation, this paper was reviewed in accordance with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York review policy, available at