the vietnam war draft made people hate war a lot
How come I have not heard of this paper? Political scientists Robert Erickson of Columbia and Laura Stoker of Berkeley have a really outstanding working paper called “Caught in the Draft: Vietnam Draft Lottery Status and Political Attitudes.” The concept is simple: use the draft lottery as a random assignment. The main finding? The lower the draft number, the more likely you are to permanently turn antiwar and more Democratic.
In 1969, the first Vietnam draft lottery assigned numbers to birth dates, determining which young men would be called to fight in Vietnam. We exploit this natural experiment to examine how draft vulnerability influenced opinions about the Vietnam War, party identification, political ideology, and attitudes toward salient political figures and issues of the day. Data analyzed come from the Jennings-Niemi Panel Study of Political Socialization, which surveyed high school seniors from the Class of 1965 both before and after the national draft lottery was instituted. Males holding low lottery numbers became more anti-war, more liberal, and more Democratic in their voting compared to those whose high numbers protected them from the draft. Trace effects are found even when the respondents were re-interviewed in the 1990s. Draft number effects typically exceed those for pre-adult party identification and are not mediated by military service or the acquisition of higher education.
Update: Fsolt points out that this paper is now in print at the American Political Science Review.