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Shaping Personality and Beliefs: The Role of Military Conscription

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 around the world, affecting typically men at a very young age. Still, its consequences on shaping men personality and beliefs remain unknown. We estimate the causal impact of mandatory military conscription on subsequent beliefs and personality traits. To address potential endogeneity concerns we exploit the conscription draft lottery in Argentina. We combine administrative data on 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 justify violence to solve conflicts, to believe that military service should be mandatory, to support coups against civilian governments, to accept military interventions in foreign countries, and to support the right to bear arms. In addition, men that served in the conscription are less tolerant, more disciplined, more politically conservative, more authoritarian, and more belligerent. Our paper highlights the potential role that military conscription has in shaping the values and beliefs of young people from all around the world.

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 2019-01
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