Military Conscription and Beliefs: Evidence from the Argentine Draft Lottery
Last registered on November 28, 2018


Trial Information
General Information
Military Conscription and Beliefs: Evidence from the Argentine Draft Lottery
Initial registration date
November 13, 2018
Last updated
November 28, 2018 1:34 PM EST
Primary Investigator
Universidad de San Andres
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Universidad de San Andres
PI Affiliation
Universidad de San Andres
PI Affiliation
Universidad de San Andres
Additional Trial Information
On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Military conscription is one of the most prevalent policies around the world, affecting typically men at a very young age. Still, its consequences on shaping men personality and beliefs are largely unknown. We estimate the causal impact of mandatory military conscription on subsequent beliefs and personality traits. To address potential endogeneity concerns we exploit the conscription draft lottery in Argentina. We combine administrative data on the draft with data from a purposely-designed survey on beliefs and personality traits.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Ertola Navajas, Maria Gabriela et al. 2018. "Military Conscription and Beliefs: Evidence from the Argentine Draft Lottery." AEA RCT Registry. November 28.
Experimental Details
From 1901 through 1995, military conscription in Argentina was mandatory. The length of service was a minimum of one year (the Army and the Air Force) and a maximum of two years (the Navy). Service began with a three-month basic instruction period during which recruits learned military norms and were exposed to combat training. After that, conscripts were allocated to a military unit to perform a specific duty, not necessarily related to military training.
In earlier times, males served in the conscription at the age of 21; later, this was changed to age 18. The cohort born in 1955 was the last cohort starting military service at age 21; the cohort born in 1958 was the first cohort starting serving at age 18. The cohort born in 1976 faced the draft lottery but eventually was not drafted as conscription was halted. Our analysis focuses on cohorts that served at age 18, that is, on cohorts born between 1958 and 1975. Some recruits from the cohorts born in 1962 and 1963 participated in the Malvinas War.
The eligibility of young males for military service was randomly determined, using the last three digits of their national IDs. Each year a lottery assigned a number between 1 and 1,000 to each combination of the last three ID digits. The lottery system was run in a public session administered by the National Lottery. Results were broadcasted over the radio and published in the main newspapers.
After the lottery, individuals were called for physical and mental examinations. Later on, the government announced a cutoff number. Individuals whose ID number had been assigned a lottery number higher than the cutoff number (and who had passed the medical examination) were mandatorily called to military conscription.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Tolerance; Discipline; Conservatism; Authoritarianism; Belligerence, In favor of right to bear arms; Justify violence to solve conflicts; Accept countries' interventions; In favor mandatory conscriptions; Accept coups
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
For analyzing personality traits, we use standardized psychological tests. Each trait relates to a group of statements and each statement has a score that depends on how much the person agrees or disagrees with the claim. We construct a separate index for each personality trait. In order to analyze the specific beliefs, we generate a dummy variable that takes value of one if the person agrees or strongly agrees with the statement, and zero otherwise.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Exploiting the random assignment of eligibility into the Argentine military conscription, we aim to identify whether being conscripted affects individuals’ subsequent beliefs and personality traits. To answer this question, we combine administrative data on the draft with data from a purposely-design survey on personality traits and beliefs.
We obtained lottery draft results and cutoff numbers from Galiani, Rossi, and Schargrodsky (2011). Using the lottery draft results and the cutoff numbers by cohort, we can then define the dummy variable Draft Eligible, which equals one for men whose ID is above the cutoff and therefore draft-eligible, and zero otherwise. This Draft Eligible variable identifies the intention-to-treat for the population. We also construct the treatment variable Conscription that takes the value one when an individual actually served in the military (obtained from the survey).
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Public lottery
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Depends on survey take up
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Depends on survey take up and cutoff numbers
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

There are documents in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access to this information.

Request Information
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers