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American Economic Journal: Applied Economics: Vol. 3 No. 2 (April 2011)

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Conscription and Crime: Evidence from the Argentine Draft Lottery

Article Citation

Galiani, Sebastian, Martín A. Rossi, and Ernesto Schargrodsky. 2011. "Conscription and Crime: Evidence from the Argentine Draft Lottery." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 3(2): 119-36.

DOI: 10.1257/app.3.2.119

Abstract

We estimate the causal effect of mandatory participation in military service on individuals' subsequent involvement in criminal activities. To identify this causal effect, we exploit the random assignment of young men to conscription in Argentina through a draft lottery. Using a dataset that includes draft eligibility, participation in military service, and criminal records, we find that conscription increases the likelihood of developing a criminal record. The effects are significant not only for cohorts that provided military service during wartime, but also for those that served during peacetime. Our results do not support the introduction of conscription for anti-crime purposes. JEL (H56, K42, O17)

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Authors

Galiani, Sebastian (Washington U in St Louis)
Rossi, Martín A. (U San Andres, Buenos Aires)
Schargrodsky, Ernesto (U Torcuato Di Tella)

JEL Classifications

H56: National Security and War
K42: Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
O17: Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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