Military careers of politicians matter for national security policy (2014)

Do politicians with a military background decide differently on military affairs? We investigate the informative institutional setting of the Swiss conscription army. Politicians who served in the military have a higher probability of accepting pro-military legislative proposals, even when controlling for party affiliations and revealed preferences of constituents that politicians are supposed to represent. While conscription requires all able-bodied man to serve at least as soldiers, we can exploit variation in exposure to enforced and voluntary service. This allows us to provide indicative evidence that motivation for the military, instead of compulsory service, plays a substantial role for explaining legislative decisions on military affairs.

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Eichenberger Reiner, Portmann Marco, Stadelmann David