Discussion Paper Details

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Title: Discrimination and State Capacity: Evidence from WWII U.S. Army Enlistment

Author(s): Nancy Qian and Marco Tabellini

Publication Date: November 2021

Keyword(s): institutions, state capacity and war

Programme Area(s): Economic History, Labour Economics, Macroeconomics and Growth and Public Economics

Abstract: This paper investigates the empirical relationship between inclusion and state capacity, as theorized by Besley and Persson (2009). We examine the impact of racial discrimination on Black U.S. military enlistment during the onset of WWII. We find that discrimination had a large and negative effect on volunteer enlistment after the Pearl Harbor attack. The result is robust to a large number of controls that account for potential confounders. The negative effect of discrimination is moderated by geographical proximity to Pearl Harbor, and is larger for educated men. We provide consistent evidence for Japanese Americans.

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Bibliographic Reference

Qian, N and Tabellini, M. 2021. 'Discrimination and State Capacity: Evidence from WWII U.S. Army Enlistment'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.