Interregional Contact and the Formation of a Shared Identity
- American Economic Journal: Economic Policy (Forthcoming)
We study the long-run effects of contact with individuals from other
regions in early adulthood on preferences, beliefs and national identity.
We combine a natural experiment, the random assignment of male
conscripts to different locations throughout Spain, with tailored survey
data. Being randomly assigned to complete military service outside of
one’s region of residence fosters contact with conscripts from other regions,
and increases sympathy and trust towards people from the region
of service, as measured decades later. We also observe a long-lasting
increase in identification with Spain for individuals originating from
regions with strong peripheral nationalism.
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