Fighting for Tyranny: State Repression and Combat Motivation

41 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2022

See all articles by Arturas Rozenas

Arturas Rozenas

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics

Roya Talibova

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Yuri Zhukov

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Political Science

Date Written: February 9, 2022

Abstract

Utilizing over 100 million declassified Red Army personnel records from World War II, we study how state repression shapes soldiers' motivation to exert effort in fighting. Exploiting three complementary identification strategies, we find that soldiers from places with higher levels of pre-war repression under Stalin's rule were more likely to fight until death and less likely to shirk on their duties, but they also received fewer decorations for personal bravery. The coercive incentives created by repression appear to have induced obedience at the expense of initiative and increased the human costs of war.

Keywords: repression, war, state, extrinsic motivation

JEL Classification: D74, F51, H56, N44

Suggested Citation

Rozenas, Arturas and Talibova, Roya and Zhukov, Yuri, Fighting for Tyranny: State Repression and Combat Motivation (February 9, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4030750 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4030750

Arturas Rozenas (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics ( email )

19 West 4
New York, NY 10012
United States

Roya Talibova

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Yuri Zhukov

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Political Science ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

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