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The Long-Term Effect of Military Conscription on Personality and Beliefs

Gabriela Ertola Navajas (), Paula López Villalba (), Martín Rossi and Antonia Vazquez ()

No 132, Working Papers from Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia

Abstract: Military conscription is one of the most prevalent policies observed worldwide, typically affecting men at a very young age. However, its consequences on shaping men’s personalities and beliefs remain unknown. We estimate the causal impact of military conscription on long-term beliefs and personality traits. To address potential endogeneity concerns we exploit the conscription draft lottery in Argentina. We combine administrative data from the draft with data from a purposely-designed survey on beliefs and personality traits. We find that men that served in the conscription are more likely to adopt the military mindset, and this effect is long-lasting. In particular, men that served in the conscription are more likely to justify violence to solve conflicts, believe that military service should be mandatory, support coups against civilian governments, accept military interventions in foreign countries, and support the right to bear arms. In addition, they are less tolerant, more disciplined, more politically conservative, more authoritarian, and more belligerent.

Keywords: Military service; personality traits; behavior (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-lam
Date: 2019-01, Revised 2019-09
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ftp://webacademicos.udesa.edu.ar/pub/econ/doc132.pdf First version, Jan 2019 (application/pdf)

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:sad:wpaper:132

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