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Estimating the Labor Market Impact of Voluntary Military Service Using Social Security Data on Military Applicants

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  • Joshua D. Angrist

Abstract

This study uses Social Security data on the earnings of military applicants to the all-volunteer forces to compare the earnings of Armed Forces veterans with the earnings of military applicants who did not enlist. Matching, regression, and Instrumental Variables (IV) estimates are presented. The matching and regression estimates control for most of the characteristics used by the military to select qualified applicants from the military applicant pool. The IV estimates exploit an error in the scoring of exams used by the military to screen applicants between 1976 and 1980. All the estimates suggest that soldiers who served in the early 1980s were paid considerably more than comparable civilians while in the military. Military service also appears to have led to a modest (less than 10 percent) increase in the civilian earnings of nonwhite veterans while actually reducing the civilian earnings of white veterans. Most of the positive effects of military service on civilian earnings appear to be attributable to improved employment prospects for veterans.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5192.

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Date of creation: Jul 1995
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Publication status: published as Econometrica (March 1998).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5192

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  1. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1995. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Mark C. Berger & Barry T. Hirsch, 1983. "The Civilian Earnings Experience of Vietnam - Era Veterans," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(4), pages 455-479.
  3. Bryant, Richard R. & Samaranayake, V. A. & Wilhite, Allen, 1993. "The effect of military service on the subsequent civilian wage of the post-Vietnam veteran," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 15-31.
  4. David Card & Daniel Sullivan, 1987. "Measuring the Effect of Subsidized Training Programs on Movements In andOut of Employment," NBER Working Papers 2173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Stephen L. Mangum & David E. Ball, 1989. "The transferability of military-provided occupational training in the post-draft era," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 42(2), pages 230-245, January.
  6. Newey, W.K., 1989. "Efficient Instrumental Variables Estimation Of Nonlinear Models," Papers, Princeton, Department of Economics - Econometric Research Program 341, Princeton, Department of Economics - Econometric Research Program.
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