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Conscription and Crime: Evidence from the Argentine Draft Lottery

  • Sebastian Galiani
  • Mart�n A. Rossi
  • Ernesto Schargrodsky

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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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 119-36

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:3:y:2011:i:2:p:119-36
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.3.2.119
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  1. Richard B. Freeman, 1996. "Why Do So Many Young American Men Commit Crimes and What Might We Do About It?," NBER Working Papers 5451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Angrist, Joshua D, 1990. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records: Errata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1284-86, December.
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  7. Grogger, Jeff, 1998. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 756-91, October.
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  9. Joshua D. Angrist & Stacey H. Chen & Brigham R. Frandsen, 2010. "Did Vietnam Veterans Get Sicker in the 1990s? The Complicated Effects of Military Service on Self-Reported Health," CEP Discussion Papers dp1041, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  10. Imbens, Guido & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 1995. "Evaluating the Cost of Conscription in The Netherlands," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 207-15, April.
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  12. Steven D. Levitt, 1997. "Juvenile Crime and Punishment," NBER Working Papers 6191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Carlos Dobkin & Reza Shabani, 2009. "The Health Effects Of Military Service: Evidence From The Vietnam Draft," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(1), pages 69-80, 01.
  14. Joshua D. Angrist & Stacey H. Chen, 2009. "Long-Term Economic Consequences of Vietnam-Era Conscription: Schooling, Experience and Earnings," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics 09/02, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London.
  15. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2001. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," NBER Working Papers 8605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Case, A.C. & Katz, L.F., 1991. "The Company You Keep: The Effects Of Family And Neighborhood On Disadvantaged Younths," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1555, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  17. Joshua D. Angrist, 1995. "Estimating the Labor Market Impact of Voluntary Military Service Using Social Security Data on Military Applicants," NBER Working Papers 5192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jens Ludwig & Lawrence F. Katz, 2005. "Neighborhood Effects on Crime for Female and Male Youth: Evidence from a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(1), pages 87-130, January.
  19. Sebastian Galiani & Federico Weinschelbaum, 2007. "Modeling Informality Formally: Households and Firms," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0047, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  20. Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 163-190, Winter.
  21. Patrick Bayer & Randi Hjalmarsson & David Pozen, 2009. "Building Criminal Capital behind Bars: Peer Effects in Juvenile Corrections-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 105-147, February.
  22. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2003. "Are Idle Hands the Devil's Workshop? Incapacitation, Concentration, and Juvenile Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1560-1577, December.
  23. Joshua D. Angrist & Stacey H. Chen, 2007. "Long-term consequences of vietnam-era conscription: schooling, experience, and earnings," NBER Working Papers 13411, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Dalton Conley & Jennifer A. Heerwig, 2009. "The Long-Term Effects of Military Conscription on Mortality: Estimates from the Vietnam-era Draft Lottery," NBER Working Papers 15105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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