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WEBINAR: Felipe Valencia Caicedo - University of British Columbia
Thursday 14 May 2020, 06:00pm - 07:00pm

The Long Shadow of the Spanish Civil War” joint with Ana Tur-Prats (UC Merced)


The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was one of the most devastating conflicts of the twentieth century, yet little is known about its long-term legacy. In this paper we show that the war had a significant long-lasting effect on social capital and voting behavior. We use geo-located data on historical mass graves, disaggregated modern-day survey data on trust combined with electoral results. To deal with the potential endogeneity of conflict, we use military plans of attack in conjunction with the historical (1931) highway network, as well as a geographical Regression Discontinuity Design around the Aragon Front. Our results show a significantly negative relationship between exhumed mass graves and generalized trust, pointing towards the deleterious long-term effects of political violence against civilians. This result does not extend to general combat deaths. We further decompose trust, finding negative effects of conflict on trust in institutions associated with the Civil War (i.e. the Civil Guard and the military), but no effects when looking at trust on Post 1975 democratic institutions. We also find long-lasting results on voting, corresponding to the political repression implemented in the Aragon Front. In terms of mechanisms, using a specialized survey on the Civil War and street-level data, we find lower levels of political engagement and differential patterns of collective memory.

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