Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

N. 104 - "The Political Effects of Threats to the Nation: Evidence from the Cuban Missile Crisis" - Tommaso Colussi


This paper investigates how voters respond to threats to the nation by estimating the political effects of the Cuban Missile Crisis. To establish causality, I exploit the geographical variation induced by the range of the missiles: only U.S. localities within 1,000 nautical miles from Cuba could be targeted. Difference-in-differences regressions show that target counties experienced an increase in voter turnout and support for the incumbent President’s party by 5 and 3 percentage points, respectively. Finally, I find positive effects of the crisis on representatives’ support for military spending and foreign intervention and on Americans’ probability to serve in Vietnam.

JEL codes: D72, D74, H56, D91.
Keywords: Voting Behavior, International Crises, Cuban Missile Crisis.
ISSN 2704-7407