Good news. The Journal of European Public Policy just accepted the “Does War Exposure Increase Support for State Penetration? Evidence from a Natural Experiment” (with André Walter). Here is the abstract:
A vast literature argues that war exposure has left an enduring footprint on state penetration of society, both with regard to taxation and state intervention into the economy. In this way, interstate warfare has contributed to declining levels of inequality. Yet, several questions remain. Most notably, it is unclear whether war increases popular support for penetration or if changes in taxation and economic intervention are primarily elite-driven. Existing research rests mainly at the macro level and is therefore unable to distinguish between the two mechanisms. In this paper, we employ a natural experiment to investigate whether direct war exposure affects popular preferences for state penetration in the post-war period. We use accidental bombardments of Swiss municipalities during the Second World War as treatments to examine whether popular preferences expressed in direct democratic votes on tax policies and economic intervention in war-affected municipalities followed different trajectories in the post-war period compared to municipalities that were not the target of accidental bombardments. We show that war exposure increased popular support for state intervention into the economy, but we do not find an effect of accidental bombardments on popular support for more progressive taxes or the extension of fiscal capacity.