Shaping Personality and Beliefs: The Role of Military Conscription

Produced by: 
Universidad de San Andrés
Available from: 
January 2019
Paper author(s): 
Gabriela Ertola Navajas
Paula López Villalba
Martín Rossi
Antonia Vázquez
Conflict, Crime and Violence

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.


Research section: 
Latest Research
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