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Did Vietnam Veterans Get Sicker in the 1990s? The Complicated Effects of Military Service on Self-Reported Health

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Author Info

  • Joshua D. Angrist
  • Stacey H. Chen
  • Brigham R. Frandsen

Abstract

The veterans disability compensation (VDC) program, which provides a monthly stipend to disabled veterans, is the third largest American disability insurance program. Since the late 1990s, VDC growth has been driven primarily by an increase in claims from Vietnam veterans, raising concerns about costs as well as health. We use the draft lottery to study the long-term effects of Vietnam-era military service on health and work in the 2000 Census. These estimates show no significant overall effects on employment or work-related disability status, with a small effect on non-work-related disability for whites. On the other hand, estimates for white men with low earnings potential show a large negative impact on employment and a marked increase in non-work-related disability rates. The differential impact of Vietnam-era service on low-skill men cannot be explained by more combat or wartheatre exposure for the least educated, leaving the relative attractiveness of VDC for less skilled men and the work disincentives embedded in the VDC system as a likely explanation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1041.

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Date of creation: Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1041

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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Keywords: Public economics; social security and public pensions; health; education; welfare; labour; demographic economics;

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References

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  1. Daniel Eisenberg & Brian Rowe, 2008. "The Effects of Smoking in Young Adulthood on Smoking and Health Later in Life: Evidence Based on the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery," Working Papers 08-35, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. Angrist, Joshua D, 1990. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records: Errata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1284-86, December.
  3. Mark Duggan & Robert Rosenheck & Perry Singleton, 2006. "Federal Policy and the Rise in Disability Enrollment: Evidence for the VA's Disability Compensation Program," NBER Working Papers 12323, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Kelly Bedard & Olivier Desch�nes, 2006. "The Long-Term Impact of Military Service on Health: Evidence from World War II and Korean War Veterans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 176-194, March.
  5. J.D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens & D.B. Rubin, 1993. "Identification of Causal Effects Using Instrumental Variables," NBER Technical Working Papers 0136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Bound, John & Waidmann, Timothy, 1992. "Disability Transfers, Self-Reported Health, and the Labor Force Attachment of Older Men: Evidence from the Historical Record," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1393-419, November.
  7. Dan Black & Kermit Daniel & Seth Sanders, 2002. "The Impact of Economic Conditions on Participation in Disability Programs: Evidence from the Coal Boom and Bust," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 27-50, March.
  8. Hugo Ben�tez-Silva & Moshe Buchinsky & Hiu Man Chan & Sofia Cheidvasser & John Rust, 2004. "How large is the bias in self-reported disability?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(6), pages 649-670.
  9. Joshua Angrist, 1989. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records," Working Papers 631, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  10. Duggan, Mark & Singleton, Perry & Song, Jae, 2007. "Aching to retire? The rise in the full retirement age and its impact on the social security disability rolls," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1327-1350, August.
  11. Carlos Dobkin & Reza Shabani, 2009. "The Health Effects Of Military Service: Evidence From The Vietnam Draft," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(1), pages 69-80, 01.
  12. Joshua D. Angrist & Stacey H. Chen, 2009. "Long-Term Economic Consequences of Vietnam-Era Conscription: Schooling, Experience and Earnings," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics 09/02, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London.
  13. David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan, 2003. "The Rise In The Disability Rolls And The Decline In Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 157-205, February.
  14. Joshua D. Angrist, 1993. "The effect of veterans' benefits on education and earnings," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(4), pages 637-652, July.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Low labor market attachment and disability insurance, some expected relationships
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-10-12 14:39:00
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Cited by:
  1. Sebastian Galiani & Mart�n A. Rossi & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2011. "Conscription and Crime: Evidence from the Argentine Draft Lottery," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 119-36, April.
  2. Baldwin, Kate & Bhavnani, Rikhil R., 2013. "Ancillary experiments: Opportunities and challenges," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  3. David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan & David S. Lyle, 2011. "Battle Scars? The Puzzling Decline in Employment and Rise in Disability Receipt among Vietnam Era Veterans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 339-44, May.
  4. Jason M. Lindo & Charles F. Stoecker, 2012. "Drawn into Violence: Evidence on 'What Makes a Criminal' from the Vietnam Draft Lotteries," NBER Working Papers 17818, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Resul Cesur & Joseph J. Sabia & Erdal Tekin, 2011. "The Psychological Costs of War: Military Combat and Mental Health," NBER Working Papers 16927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Peter Siminski & Simon Ville, 2011. "Long-Run Mortality Effects of Vietnam-Era Army Service: Evidence from Australia's Conscription Lotteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 345-49, May.
  7. Dalton Conley & Jennifer Heerwig, 2012. "The Long-Term Effects of Military Conscription on Mortality: Estimates From the Vietnam-Era Draft Lottery," Demography, Springer, vol. 49(3), pages 841-855, August.
  8. Joshua D. Angrist & Stacey H. Chen & Jae Song, 2011. "Long-Term Consequences of Vietnam-Era Conscription: New Estimates Using Social Security Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 334-38, May.
  9. Kasey Buckles & Andreas Hagemann & Ofer Malamud & Melinda S. Morrill & Abigail K. Wozniak, 2013. "The Effect of College Education on Health," NBER Working Papers 19222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Marie, Olivier & Vall Castello, Judit, 2012. "Measuring the (income) effect of disability insurance generosity on labour market participation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 198-210.
  11. Alfredo R. Paloyo, 2010. "Compulsory Military Service in Germany Revisited," Ruhr Economic Papers 0206, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  12. Bruno Frey, 2012. "Well-being and war," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 59(4), pages 363-375, December.
  13. Peter Siminski & Simon Ville, 2012. "I Was Only Nineteen, 45 Years Ago: What Can we Learn from Australia’s Conscription Lotteries?," Economics Working Papers wp12-06, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
  14. Edwards, Ryan D., 2014. "U.S. war costs: Two parts temporary, one part permanent," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 54-66.

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