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A war is forever: The long-run effects of early exposure to World War II on trust

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  • Conzo, Pierluigi
  • Salustri, Francesco

Abstract

This paper examines the long-term effect of conflict on trust by using changes in places and timing of combats during World War II. We focus on the pre-school period, an important life stage for the formation of trust and an age where war exposure may persist throughout life. We find robust evidence that individuals exposed to combats in the first six years of life display lower trust and social engagement well into adulthood. In light of the well-known relationship between trust and collective action, our results lend credence to the theory that violent conflict inhibits well-functioning government in long run.

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  • Conzo, Pierluigi & Salustri, Francesco, 2019. "A war is forever: The long-run effects of early exposure to World War II on trust," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 120(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:120:y:2019:i:c:s0014292119301655
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2019.103313
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    Cited by:

    1. Conzo, Pierluigi & Zotti, Roberto, 2020. "Blessed are the first: The long-term effect of birth order on trust," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C).
    2. repec:baf:cbafwp:cbafwp20149 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Leonardo M. Klüppel & Lamar Pierce & Jason A. Snyder, 2018. "Perspective—The Deep Historical Roots of Organization and Strategy: Traumatic Shocks, Culture, and Institutions," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(4), pages 702-721, August.
    4. Arpino, Bruno & Conzo, Pierluigi & Salustri, Francesco, 2019. "I’m a survivor, keep on surviving: Early-life exposure to conflict and subjective survival probabilities in adult life," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201904, University of Turin.
    5. Bellucci, Davide & Fuochi, Giulia & Conzo, Pierluigi, 2019. "Ain’t got no, I got life: Childhood exposure to WW2 and financial risk taking in adult life," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201905, University of Turin.
    6. Pierluigi Conzo & Roberto Zotti, 2018. "Blessed are the first: The long-term effect of birth order on trust," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 554, Collegio Carlo Alberto.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trust; World War II; Childhood experiences; Conflict; Social preferences;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-

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