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Reprisals remembered: German-Greek conflict and car sales during the Euro crisis
Fouka, Vasiliki; Voth, Joachim
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
During the Greek debt crisis after 2010, the German government insisted on harshausterity measures. This led to a rapid cooling of relations between the Greekand German governments. We compile a new index of public acrimony betweenGermany and Greece based on newspaper reports and internet search terms. Thisinformation is combined with historical maps on German war crimes during theoccupation between 1941 and 1944. During months of open conflict between Germanand Greek politicians, German car sales fell markedly more than those of cars fromother countries. This was especially true in areas affected by German reprisals duringWorldWar II: areas where German troops committed massacres and destroyed entirevillages curtailed their purchases of German cars to a greater extent during conflictmonths than other parts of Greece. We conclude that cultural aversion was a keydeterminant of purchasing behavior, and that memories of past conflict can affecteconomic choices in a time-varying fashion. These findings are compatible withbehavioral models emphasizing the importance of salience for individual decision-making.
Economic and Business History
Macroeconomics and International Economics
consumer boycott
cultural aversion
political conflict
car sales
euro crisis
german-greek relations.
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