Intergroup contact and nation building: Evidence from military service in Spain Articles uri icon

publication date

  • September 2021

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 8


  • 104477


  • 201

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0047-2727

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-2316


  • We study the long-term effects of intergroup contact on nation building by exploiting a national lottery that randomly allocated conscripts to different military areas across Spain. For men born in regions that feature a weak Spanish identity, we find that being assigned to military service in a different region substantially increases self-identification as Spanish, increases the likelihood of voting in national elections and reduces the probability of voting for a regionalist party. Moreover, in support of intergroup contact as the main mechanism behind these results, we find that movers are more likely than nonmovers to have friends from other regions.


  • Economics


  • intergroup contact; military service; nation building