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To draft or not to draft? Inefficiency, generational incidence, and political economy of military conscription

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  • Poutvaara, Panu
  • Wagener, Andreas

Abstract

We study the efficiency and distributional consequences of establishing and abolishing the draft in a dynamic model with overlapping generations, taking into account endogenous human capital formation as well as government budget constraints. The introduction of the draft initially benefits the older generation while harming the young and all future generations. Its Pareto-improving abolition requires levying age-dependent taxes on the young. These being infeasible, abolition of the draft would harm the old. The intergenerational incidence of the gains and losses from its introduction and abolition helps to explain the political allure of the draft.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 23 (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 975-987

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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:23:y:2007:i:4:p:975-987

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544

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References

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  1. Lau, Morten I. & Poutvaara, Panu & Wagener, Andreas, 2004. "Dynamic costs of the draft," Munich Reprints in Economics 19265, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Casey Mulligan & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Conscription as Regulation," NBER Working Papers 10558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Imbens, G. & Van Der Klaauw, W., 1993. "Evaluating the Cost of Conscription in the Netherlands," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1632, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Sandler,Todd & Hartley,Keith, 1995. "The Economics of Defense," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521447287, October.
  5. Angrist, Joshua D, 1990. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 313-36, June.
  6. John T. Warner & Beth J. Asch, 2001. "The Record and Prospects of the All-Volunteer Military in the United States," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 169-192, Spring.
  7. Fisher, Anthony C, 1969. "The Cost of the Draft and the Cost of Ending the Draft," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(3), pages 239-54, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Panu Poutvaara & Andreas Wagener, 2011. "Ending Military Conscription," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 9(2), pages 36-43, 07.
  2. Poutvaara, Panu & Wagener, Andreas, . "The political economy of conscription," Chapters in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. Perri Tim, 2010. "Deferments and the Relative Cost of Conscription," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-29, November.
  4. Di Pietro, Giorgio, 2009. "Military Conscription and University Enrolment: Evidence from Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 4212, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Martin Gonzalez-Eiras & Dirk Niepelt, 2004. "Sustaining Social Security," 2004 Meeting Papers 199, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Tim Perri, 2013. "Can a draft induce more human capital investment in the military?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(2), pages 905-913.
  7. Vesa Kanniainen & Staffan Ringbom, 2014. "Security Gradient and National Defense - The Optimal Choice between a Draft Army and a Professional Army," CESifo Working Paper Series 4707, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Antonis Adam, 2012. "Military conscription as a means of stabilizing democratic regimes," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(3), pages 715-730, March.
  9. Yew-Kwang Ng, 2008. "Why is the Military Draft Common? Conscription and Increasing Returns," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 9(2), pages 373-384, November.

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