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Going to War and Going to College: Did World War II and the G.I. Bill Increase Educational Attainment for Returning Veterans?

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  • John Bound
  • Sarah E. Turner

Abstract

The end of World War II brought a flood of returning veterans to America's colleges and universities. Yet, despite widespread rhetoric about the democratization' of higher education that came with this large pool of students, there is little evidence about the question of whether military service, combined with the availability of post-war educational benefits, led these men to increase their investments in education - particularly at the college and university level. This paper uses the structure of the draft during the World War II period and the changing manpower requirements in the armed forces to address the effects of selection in comparisons of the educational attainment of veterans and nonveterans in this era. Using census data, our results indicate that the net effects of military service and the widely available funding for college through the G.I. Bill led to a moderate gain in the postsecondary educational attainment of World War II veterans.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7452.

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Date of creation: Dec 1999
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Publication status: published as Bound, John and Sarah Turner. "Going To War And Going To College: Did World War II And The G.I. Bill Increase Education Attainment For Returning Veterans?," Journal of Labor Economics, 2002, v20(4,Oct), 784-815.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7452

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  1. Thomas Lemieux & David Card, 2001. "Education, earnings, and the "Canadian G.I. Bill"," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(2), pages 313-344, May.
  2. 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..
  3. Joshua D. Angrist, 1990. "The Effect of Veterans Benefits on Veterans' Education and Earnings," NBER Working Papers 3492, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Goldin, Claudia & Margo, Robert A, 1992. "The Great Compression: The Wage Structure in the United States at Mid-century," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 1-34, February.
  5. Joshua Angrist, 1988. "Grouped Data Estimation and Testing in Simple Labor Supply Models," Working Papers 614, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  6. Alan B. Krueger & Joshua D. Angrist, 1989. "Why do World War II Veterans Earn More Than Nonveterans?," NBER Working Papers 2991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explorations with a Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings with Heterogeneous Agents," NBER Working Papers 6384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Heckman, James J. & Robb, Richard Jr., 1985. "Alternative methods for evaluating the impact of interventions : An overview," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 239-267.
  10. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
  11. Dynarski, Susan, 2001. "Does Aid Matter? Measuring the Effect of Student Aid on College Attendance and Completion," Working Paper Series rwp01-034, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  12. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
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