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Retirement Pay and Officer Retention

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  • Jeffrey S. Smith
  • James E. West

Abstract

We use data from a natural experiment in which retirement benefits were reduced by congressional legislation and later restored to estimate the effect of future retirement benefit eligibility upon the decision of whether to remain in the U.S. military. We find that the generosity of retirement benefits is significantly correlated with the decision to remain in service until members qualify for benefits. The estimated effect of a 20 percent reduction in the generosity of retirement benefits upon the probability of remaining on active duty is equivalent to the effect of a 0.27 percentage point reduction in the unemployment rate, or approximately a 2 percent increase in the GDP growth rate.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18502.

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Date of creation: Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18502

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  1. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
  2. Scott E. Carrell & Mark Hoekstra & James E. West, 2010. "Does Drinking Impair College Performance? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Approach," NBER Working Papers 16330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Gurley–Calvez, Tami & Bruce, Donald, 2008. "Do Tax Cuts Promote Entrepreneurial Longevity?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 61(2), pages 225-50, June.
  4. Samwick, Andrew A., 1998. "New evidence on pensions, social security, and the timing of retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 207-236, November.
  5. Asch, Beth & Haider, Steven J. & Zissimopoulos, Julie, 2005. "Financial incentives and retirement: evidence from federal civil service workers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 427-440, February.
  6. Lancaster, Tony, 1979. "Econometric Methods for the Duration of Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 939-56, July.
  7. Sandra E. Black, 1999. "Do Better Schools Matter? Parental Valuation Of Elementary Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 577-599, May.
  8. David A. Wise, 1996. "Advances in the Economics of Aging," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number wise96-1, May.
  9. Saul Pleeter & John T. Warner, 2001. "The Personal Discount Rate: Evidence from Military Downsizing Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 33-53, March.
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