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The political economy of conscription

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  • Poutvaara, Panu
  • Wagener, Andreas

Abstract

Though in decline recently, military conscription is still a widely used mode of staffing armies. Since not many valid economic, social or military arguments in favor of the draft can be put forward, the question emerges why societies choose to rely on it. In this survey we explain the political allure of military conscription by its specific intra- and intergenerational incidence as a tax. From a public choice perspective, there is always a vast majority of people in favor of the introduction and maintenance of military draft, as compared to a professional army. Empirical evidence for this conclusion appears to be mixed, however. Political preferences with respect to conscription involve concerns about its unfairness and questionable record on social accounts. Special interests may also matter.

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This chapter was published in: Poutvaara, Panu & Wagener, Andreas , , pages , .

This item is provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Chapters in Economics with number 19807.

Handle: RePEc:lmu:muench:19807

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  1. Keller, Katarina & Poutvaara, Panu & Wagener, Andreas, 2009. "Military draft and economic growth in oecd countries," Munich Reprints in Economics 19477, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Casey Mulligan & Andrei Shleifer, . "Conscription as Regulation," Working Paper 19486, Harvard University OpenScholar.
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  4. John Warner & Sebastian Negrusa, 2005. "Evasion costs and the theory Of conscription," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(2), pages 83-100.
  5. Poutvaara, Panu & Wagener, Andreas, 2005. "To Draft or Not to Draft? Efficiency, Generational Incidence, and Political Economy of Military Conscription," IZA Discussion Papers 1559, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Warner, John T., 1995. "The economics of military manpower," Handbook of Defense Economics, in: Keith Hartley & Todd Sandler (ed.), Handbook of Defense Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 13, pages 347-398 Elsevier.
  7. J. Paul Dunne & Ron Smith & Dirk Willenbockel, 2005. "Models Of Military Expenditure And Growth: A Critical Review," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(6), pages 449-461.
  8. Lokshin, Michael & Yemtsov, Ruslan, 2005. "Who bears the cost of Russia's military draft?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3547, The World Bank.
  9. de la Grandville,Olivier, 2009. "Economic Growth," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521898010.
  10. Imbens, Guido & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 1995. "Evaluating the Cost of Conscription in The Netherlands," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 207-15, April.
  11. Piero Cipollone & Alfonso Rosolia, 2007. "Social Interactions in High School: Lessons from an Earthquake," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 948-965, June.
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  13. Maurin, Eric & Xenogiani, Theodora, 2005. "Demand for Education and Labour Market Outcomes: Lessons from the Abolition of Compulsory Conscription in France," CEPR Discussion Papers 4946, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Panu Poutvaara & Andreas Wagener, 2007. "Conscription: economic costs and political allure," Economics of Peace and Security Journal, Economists for Peace and Security (UK), vol. 2(1), pages 6-15, January.
  15. Michael D. Stroup & Jac C. Heckelman, 2001. "Size Of The Military Sector And Economic Growth: A Panel Data Analysis Of Africa And Latin America," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 329-360, November.
  16. Lau, Morten I. & Poutvaara, Panu & Wagener, Andreas, 2004. "Dynamic costs of the draft," Munich Reprints in Economics 19265, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  17. Avant, Deborah, 2000. "From Mercenary to Citizen Armies: Explaining Change in the Practice of War," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(01), pages 41-72, December.
  18. Spencer, Daniel L & Woroniak, Alexander, 1969. "Valuing Transfer of Military-Acquired Skills to Civilian Employment," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(3), pages 467-92.
  19. Gordon, Roger H. & Bai, Chong-En & Li, David D., 1999. "Efficiency losses from tax distortions vs. government control," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 1095-1103, April.
  20. Thomas Lemieux & David Card, 2001. "Going to College to Avoid the Draft: The Unintended Legacy of the Vietnam War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 97-102, May.
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  22. 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.
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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.

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