In this paper I study the micro-level impact of state-led repression for the case of the Chilean military dictatorship (1973-1990) on individual political and social participation, preferences and behavior. I collected a unique micro dataset in Chile in 2012 where I surveyed subjects who experienced repression and built a matching group of subjects with very similar socio-economic characteristics that did not experience repression. Since there is a clear selection into the repressed group, I use a difference in differences strategy where I compare the outcome of the repressed relative to the non-repressed before and after repression took place. I also estimate this model using individual fixed effects. I find several robust results: first, there is a general de-politicization of the sample in the sense that in 2012 both sets of people, repressed and non-repressed are less interested in politics compared to 1973; second, there is no significant change in the political orientation on a left-right scale of either group; third, while the repressed were and are more politically active in the sense of being more likely to be a member of a political party or a trade union, as a consequence of repression their participation fell relatively to the non-repressed. They also reduced their reliance of newspapers as a source of information. Lastly, repressed subjects increase their participation in human rights organizations. My results contrast with others that have stressed the positive impacts of violence and civil war and crime victimization, suggesting that state repression has very different political consequences than random violence. My qualitative evidence from my fieldwork suggests the effects are due to repressed people being terrified by the threat of future state violence.
In this paper I disentangle the extent to which state-led repression has heterogeneous effects that depend on individual characteristics. While in Bautista (2013) I find that the average effect of repression on many individual political outcomes is negative, I find robust evidence that repression has differential effects depending on people’s identities and how they react to challenges to it. For example, subjects who were members of a radical party in 1973, such as the communist party, and were repressed are more likely to join political parties, to work in and donate money to political activities relative to those radicals who were not repressed. I also find that subjects who were students in 1973 and are repressed are more likely to belong to a union, participate in strikes and political protests and donate money for political activities than those who were not students and were not repressed. This evidence is consistent with the interaction of two mechanisms driving people’s response to repression. While repression causes generalized fear which can lead to de-politicization, and this effect dominates on average, in some instances this fear is counter-acted by people taking positive actions to re-affirm their identity which was challenged by repression.
"Intergenerational Consequences of Repression"
In this paper I will study how repression affects the political preferences, behavior and social capital of the children of subjects who were repressed. First I will make a comparison of children’s political behavior vs. their parents and second, I will compare the children of the repressed with the children of the non-repressed to see if there is any differential political behavior. Therefore this research seeks to understand how the parent’s experiences influence the social capital and political participation of their children. Are the children of repressed individuals more likely to join a voluntary organization? Or, are they less likely to be politically active due to their parent’s experience?
"Repression and Social Mobility"
The main goal of this paper is to investigate whether state repression had long-run consequences at the individual level on social mobility. My hypothesis is that people who were detained for political reasons are more likely to have lower levels of education; fewer possibilities to access better occupations and therefore lower levels of income. This hypothesis also implies that the traumatic interruption of these people’s lives affects their family and specially the prospect of upward social mobility for their children.