Engaging more after war

A bombing strike in Vietnam, 1968


Exposure to war has been linked to short-term increases in collective action and prosocial behavior, but the extent to which these effects persist across generations is unclear. Barceló examined records of bombing locations and civilians’ provinces of residence during and after the Vietnam War and found that civilians who lived in areas that were heavily bombed were still more likely to volunteer and participate in social groups more than a quarter of a century later. These civilians were also more likely to support participatory values such as believing people should have more say in government decisions. These findings suggest that war may have long-lasting effects on civic participation.

Proc. Acad. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 118, e2015539118 (2021).

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