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Drawn into Violence: Evidence on 'What Makes a Criminal' from the Vietnam Draft Lotteries

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  • Jason M. Lindo
  • Charles F. Stoecker

Abstract

Draft lottery number assignment during the Vietnam Era provides a natural experiment to examine the effects of military service on crime. Using exact dates of birth for inmates in state and federal prisons in 1979, 1986, and 1991, we find that draft eligibility increases incarceration for violent crimes but decreases incarceration for non-violent crimes among whites. This is particularly evident in 1979, where two-sample instrumental variable estimates indicate that military service increases the probability of incarceration for a violent crime by 0.34 percentage points and decreases the probability of incarceration for a nonviolent crime by 0.30 percentage points. We conduct two falsification tests, one that applies each of the three binding lotteries to unaffected cohorts and another that considers the effects of lotteries that were not used to draft servicemen.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17818.

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Date of creation: Feb 2012
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Publication status: published as Jason M. Lindo & Charles Stoecker, 2014. "Drawn Into Violence: Evidence On “What Makes A Criminal” From The Vietnam Draft Lotteries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 239-258, 01.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17818

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  1. Turner, Sarah & Bound, John, 2003. "Closing the Gap or Widening the Divide: The Effects of the G.I. Bill and World War II on the Educational Outcomes of Black Americans," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(01), pages 145-177, March.
  2. Joshua D. Angrist & Stacey H. Chen & Brigham R. Frandsen, 2010. "Did Vietnam Veterans Get Sicker in the 1990s? The Complicated Effects of Military Service on Self-Reported Health," CEP Discussion Papers, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE dp1041, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Patrick Bayer & Randi Hjalmarsson & David Pozen, 2009. "Building Criminal Capital behind Bars: Peer Effects in Juvenile Corrections-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 105-147, February.
  4. 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.
  5. Card, David & Dahl, Gordon B., 2010. "Family Violence and Football: The Effect of Unexpected Emotional Cues on Violent Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 4869, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Eric D. Gould & Bruce A. Weinberg & David B. Mustard, 2002. "Crime Rates And Local Labor Market Opportunities In The United States: 1979-1997," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 45-61, February.
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  8. Morgan Kelly, 2000. "Inequality And Crime," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 530-539, November.
  9. Dean Yang, 2008. "Can Enforcement Backfire? Crime Displacement in the Context of Customs Reform in the Philippines," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 1-14, February.
  10. Christopher Carpenter & Carlos Dobkin, 2010. "Alcohol Regulation and Crime," NBER Working Papers 15828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Gordon Dahl & Stefano DellaVigna, 2007. "Does Movie Violence Increase Violent Crime?," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001778, David K. Levine.
  12. Dalton Conley & Jennifer A. Heerwig, 2009. "The Long-Term Effects of Military Conscription on Mortality: Estimates from the Vietnam-era Draft Lottery," NBER Working Papers 15105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Naci Mocan & Erdal Tekin, 2006. "Ugly Criminals," NBER Working Papers 12019, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Earl L. Grinols & David B. Mustard, 2005. "Casinos, Crime, and Community Costs," Law and Economics, EconWPA 0501001, EconWPA.
  15. Drago, Francesco & Galbiati, Roberto & Vertova, Pietro, 2007. "The Deterrent Effects of Prison: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 6401, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Christopher Carpenter, 2007. "Heavy Alcohol Use and Crime: Evidence from Underage Drunk-Driving Laws," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50, pages 539-557.
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  18. Peter Siminski & Simon Ville, 2012. "I Was Only Nineteen, 45 Years Ago: What Can we Learn from Australia’s Conscription Lotteries?," Economics Working Papers, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia wp12-06, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
  19. Mark Duggan & Randi Hjalmarsson & Brian A. Jacob, 2008. "The Effect of Gun Shows on Gun-Related Deaths: Evidence from California and Texas," NBER Working Papers 14371, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Baldwin, Kate & Bhavnani, Rikhil R., 2013. "Ancillary experiments: Opportunities and challenges," Working Paper Series, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  2. Siminski, Peter & Ville, Simon & Paull, Alexander, 2013. "Does the Military Train Men to Be Violent Criminals? New Evidence from Australia's Conscription Lotteries," IZA Discussion Papers 7152, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Peter Siminski & Simon Ville, 2012. "I Was Only Nineteen, 45 Years Ago: What Can we Learn from Australia’s Conscription Lotteries?," Economics Working Papers, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia wp12-06, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
  4. Naci Mocan & Christian Raschke & Bulent Unel, 2013. "The Impact of Mothers’ Earnings on Health Inputs and Infant Health," NBER Working Papers 19434, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Brighita Negrusa & Sebastian Negrusa, 2014. "Home Front: Post-Deployment Mental Health and Divorces," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 51(3), pages 895-916, June.

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