Hitler's judges: ideological commitment and the death penalty in Nazi Germany

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Abstract

We examine the role of judicial policy preferences in influencing whether judges in Nazi Germany sentenced defendants charged with serious political offences to death. We find that judicial policy preferences, measured by the depth of the ideological commitment of the judge to the Nazi Party worldview, were an important determinant of whether judges imposed the death sentence. Judges more committed to the Nazi Party were more likely to impose the death sentence on defendants belonging to organised political opposition groups, those accused of violent resistance and those with characteristics to which Nazism was intolerant.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2414-2449
Number of pages36
JournalThe Economic Journal
Volume128
Issue number614
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018

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