Dissertation Project

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. 

In this paper I study the intergenerational consequences of state-led repression. The main contribution of this research piece is to understand how state-led repression during the military dictatorship in Chile (1973-1990) had a long-run effect through the intergenerational transmission of political preferences and behaviors. In Bautista (2013) I find that subjects who were repressed do not seem to change their political preferences but the fear created by repression persists and therefore they change their political behavior. In this paper I look at how the repression affects the generation of the children of the repressed and I look at two possible hypotheses: 1) that basic average effects on political participation which I found in Chapter 1 are transmitted to the children, 2) Given the presence and persistence of fear, the impact of having a repressed parent would shift the political preferences of the children to the right. I use a difference in differences model where I compare the parents' outcome in 1973 with that of their children in 2012. I find several robust results that are consistent with the hypotheses I presented. Children of the repressed replicate the behavior of the parents since they are less likely to talk about politics with friends, participate in political demonstrations, belong to a political party and more likely to belong to human rights organizations. Regarding the second hypothesis, I find that children of the repressed, not only express to be less interested in politics but they are more right-wing than their parents and the children of the non-repressed.

"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.