Do Parents’ Life Experiences Affect the Political and Civic Participation of Their Children? The Case of Draft-Induced Military Service
- 617 Downloads
Myriad studies show that politically-salient events influence civic and political engagement. Yet, on the other hand, decades of research indicate that familial factors mold political and civic dispositions early in life, before an individual experiences political events outside the family. Viewing these two lines of research together, we ask if individuals’ political and civic dispositions might be influenced not solely by their own experiences, but, also, by the experiences of those individuals who create their family environment—namely, their parents. Do parents’ life experiences—before the birth of their children—affect their offspring’s public engagement? To answer that question, we examine how the assignment of military service, via the Vietnam-era Selective Service Lotteries, affected rates of public participation among the children of draft-eligible men. Our analysis finds a negative relationship between a father’s probability of draft-induced military service and his offspring’s public participation. In addition to highlighting how parents’ life experiences can influence the social behavior of their children, this finding challenges the prevailing view that the Vietnam conflict did not contribute to declining civic engagement and it shows how experiences within bureaucratic institutions can yield long-standing effects on politically-relevant behaviors.
KeywordsVietnam Selective Service Lotteries Military Conscription Civic Participation Intergenerational Transmission Policy Feedback Bureaucracy
We received helpful advice on an earlier version of this manuscript from audience members and fellow panelists at the 2014 American Political Science Association Annual Meeting. Also, three anonymous reviewers, as well as the past and present editors of Political Behavior, offered insightful comments that improved the paper.
- Angrist, J. D. (1989). Using the draft lottery to measure the effects of military service on civilian labor market outcomes. In R. Ehrenberg (Ed.), Research in Labor Economics (Vol. 10, pp. 265–310). Greenwich: JAI.Google Scholar
- Angrist, J. D. (1990). Lifetime earnings and the vietnam era draft lottery: Evidence from social security administrative records. American Economic Review, 80, 313–336.Google Scholar
- Angrist, J. D., & Chen, S. H. (2011). Schooling and the Vietnam-Era GI bill: Evidence from the draft lottery. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 3, 96–118.Google Scholar
- Angrist, J. D., & Pischke, J.-S. (2008). Mostly harmless econometrics: An empiricist’s companion. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Baskir, L. M., & Strauss, W. A. (1978). Chance and circumstance: The draft, the war, and Vietnam generation. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
- Baum, C. F., Schaffer, M. E., & Stillman, S. (2007). Enhanced routines for instrumental variables/generalized methods of moments estimation and testing. Stata Journal, 7(4), 465–506.Google Scholar
- Converse, P. E. (1976). The dynamics of party support: Cohort-analyzing party identification (Vol. 35). New York: Sage.Google Scholar
- Egendorf, A. (1981). Legacies of Vietnam: Comparative adjustment of veterans and their peers: A study. Washington, DC: USGPO.Google Scholar
- Elder, G. H., & Bailey, S. L. (1988). The timing of military service in men’s lives. In Joan Aldous & David M. Klein (Eds.), Social stress and family development (pp. 157–174). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Figley, C. R. (1978). Introduction. In C. R. Figley (Ed.), Stress disorders among Vietnam Veterans (pp. xii–xxvi). New York: Brunner-Routeldge.Google Scholar
- Frank, D. H. (2012). As luck would have it: The effect of the vietnam draft lottery on long-term career outcomes. Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, 51, 247–274.Google Scholar
- Harlow-Rosentraub, K., Wilson, L., & Steele, J. (2006). Expanding youth service concepts for older adults: AmeriCorps RESULTS. In L. Wilson & S. Simson (Eds.), Civic engagement and the baby boomer generation: Research, policy and practice perspectives (pp. 61–84). New York: Haworth.Google Scholar
- Hearst, N., Buehler, J. W., Newman, T. B., & Rutherford, G. W. (1991). The draft lottery and AIDS: Evidence against increased intravenous drug use by Vietnam-era Veterans. American Journal of Epidemiology, 134, 522–525.Google Scholar
- Hedges, Chris. (2002). War is a force that gives us meaning. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
- Hochgesang, J., Lawyer, T., Stevenson, T. (1999). The psychological effects of the Vietnam War. In: Edge: Ethics of development in a global environment. Retrieved Sept. 20, 2013 from http://www.stanford.edu/class/e297c/war_peace/media/hpsych.html.
- Hyman, H. H. (1959). Political socialization. A study in the psychology of political behavior. Glencoe, IL: Free.Google Scholar
- Jennings, M. Kent, & Niemi, Richard G. (1974). The political character of adolescence. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Kadushin, C., Boulanger, G., & Engendorf, A. (1981). Legacies of Vietnam: comparative adjustment of veterans and their peers. Washington, DC: Veterans Administration.Google Scholar
- McDonald, M. P., & Popkin, S. L. (2001). The myth of the vanishing voter. American Political Science Review, 95(4), 963–974.Google Scholar
- Pew Research Center. (1998). Teens losing respect for politicians: White House scandal has families talking. Washington, D.C.: Pew Research Center.Google Scholar
- Richerson, P. J., & Boyd, R. (2005). Not by genes alone. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Rothbart, G., Sloan, L., & Joyce, K. (1981). Educational and work careers: Men in the Vietnam generation, Vol. 2, Legacies of Vietnam. Washington, DC: USGPO.Google Scholar
- Selective Service System (SSS). (2013). History & records: The Vietnam-Era selective service lotteries. Washington, D.C.: Selective Service System. Retrieved July 10, 2013 from http://www.sss.gov/lotter1.htm.
- Skocpol, T. (1999). Advocates without members: The recent transformation of American civic life. In T. Skocpol & M. P. Fiorina (Eds.), Civic engagement in American Democracy (pp. 461–509). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
- Sniderman, P. M., & Bullock, J. G. (2004). A consistency theory of public opinion and political choice: The hypothesis of menu dependence. In W. E. Saris & P. M. Sniderman (Eds.), Studies in public opinion: Gauging attitudes, nonattitudes, measurement error, and change. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar