We study how the experience of anti-fascism during Mussolini's dictatorship affects post-war political preferences for right-wing parties. Using newly-digitized historical data, we construct a measure of anti-fascism from the universe of regime opponents recorded in the Casellario Politico Centrale, and an instrumental variable that leverages the random assignment of judges of the Tribunale speciale per la difesa dello Stato and that resolves the simultaneity between the supply of opposition and the demand for repression of opponents. We find that stronger opposition to fascism before and during WWII weakens the support for the post-fascist party in democratic elections by between 0.3 and 1.2 percentage points. Weaker effects are detected for post-1992 conservative right-wing parties not directly tied to the Partito Nazionale Fascista.
Panza, L, M Lecci, E Swee and G Zanella (eds) (2022), “DP17524 Historical anti-fascism and right-wing voting in Italy”, CEPR Press Discussion Paper No. 17524. https://cepr.org/publications/dp17524