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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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  • Pierluigi Conzo
  • Francesco Salustri

Abstract

This paper sheds lights on the historical roots of trust across European regions. We embrace a life-course perspective and estimate the effect of early exposure to World War II on current levels of trust among Europeans aged above 50. Our identification strategy combines the variation in place and time of conflict episodes with the variation in the respondents’ month-year of birth and region of residence during the war. We focus on the pre-school period, which is a crucial stage of life for the formation of persistent trust attitudes. Our evidence provides support to this hypothesis. Individuals exposed to war episodes in the first six years of life display lower levels of trust in the adulthood. The gap persists when controlling for region and date-of-birth fixed effects, current and past socio-economic status, parental investment in human capital and other socio-demographic and economic controls, including mental and physical health. Placebo results corroborate the validity of our findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Pierluigi Conzo & Francesco Salustri, 2017. "A war is forever: The long-run effects of early exposure to World War II on trust," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 515, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  • Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:515
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    Cited by:

    1. Davide Bellucci & Giulia Fuochi & Pierluigi Conzo, 2018. "Ain't got no, I got life: Childhood exposure to WW2 and financial risk taking in adult life," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 570, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    2. 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).
    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. Bruno Arpino & Pierluigi Conzo & Francesco Salustri, 2018. "I'm a survivor, keep on surviving: Early-life exposure to conflict and subjective survival probabilities in adult life," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 572, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    5. Bellucci, Davide & Fuochi, Giulia & Conzo, Pierluigi, 2020. "Childhood exposure to the Second World War and financial risk taking in adult life," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    6. Elisa Borghi & Michela Braga & Francesco Scervini, 2020. "Fear of the dark: How terrorist events affect trust in the long run," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 20149, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trust; World War II; Childhood experiences; Conflict; Social preferences; Europe.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-

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