The Determinants of Nationalism and the Effects of Conscription on National Pride

 

The Determinants of Nationalism and the Effects of Conscription on National Pride

Dhivesh Vashdev Dadlani, Yale-NUS College ‘18

(Initially published in YNUJ Volume 3, 2018)


Abstract

This paper aims to empirically explore the variation in nationalism between individuals and countries around the world. I used data from the World Value Survey to explore the determinants of nationalism and understand the effect of removing conscription on nationalist sentiments. On the individual level, I find that nationalism is positively correlated with age, confidence in one’s government, religiosity, interest in politics, moral communalism, being a member of the armed forces and being married while it is negatively associated with education and generalized trust. On the country level, I find that it is positively related to conflict while it is negatively related to trade and taxes. Where conscription is concerned, I find that the causal effect of removing mandatory conscription on nationalistic sentiments is positive. This effect is confirmed on the country level where countries with mandatory conscription are less nationalistic. I argue that this is because forcing people to serve makes them feel like their freedom is taken away. I believe that the effect of this reduction in liberty on nationalistic sentiments is stronger than the positive effect of serving in the military.


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