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Birth Rates and the Vietnam Draft


  • Marianne P. Bitler
  • Lucie Schmidt


The Vietnam conflict was the defining event for a generation, with nearly 8 million Americans serving in the armed forces. A large literature in economics has focused on effects of Vietnam-Era service post-war, while little research looks at contemporaneous effects of the mobilization, despite the potential for this mobilization to change marriage markets for particular cohorts. We use exogenous variation across states and over time in men drafted per 100 men 19-25 to look at the effects of the wartime mobilization on birth rates. We find robust evidence that higher rates of inducted men led to significantly lower birth rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Marianne P. Bitler & Lucie Schmidt, 2012. "Birth Rates and the Vietnam Draft," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 566-569, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:3:p:566-69

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dirk Bethmann & Michael Kvasnicka, 2013. "World War II, Missing Men and Out of Wedlock Childbearing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(567), pages 162-194, March.
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, January.
    3. Shoshana Grossbard & Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes, 2008. "Cohort-level sex ratio effects on women’s labor force participation," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 309-309, September.
    4. Ran Abramitzky & Adeline Delavande & Luis Vasconcelos, 2011. "Marrying Up: The Role of Sex Ratio in Assortative Matching," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 124-157, July.
    5. Andrea Kutinova, 2009. "Paternity Deferments And The Timing Of Births: U.S. Natality During The Vietnam War," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(2), pages 351-365, April.
    6. Matthew Larsen & T. McCarthy & Jeremy Moulton & Marianne Page & Ankur Patel, 2015. "War and Marriage: Assortative Mating and the World War II GI Bill," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(5), pages 1431-1461, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pestel, Nico, 2016. "Searching on the Campus? Marriage Market Effects of the Student Gender Composition by Field of Study," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145510, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Matthew Larsen & T. McCarthy & Jeremy Moulton & Marianne Page & Ankur Patel, 2015. "War and Marriage: Assortative Mating and the World War II GI Bill," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(5), pages 1431-1461, October.
    3. Buckles, Kasey & Malamud, Ofer & Morrill, Melinda Sandler & Wozniak, Abigail, 2012. "The Effect of College Education on Health," IZA Discussion Papers 6659, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Buckles, Kasey & Hagemann, Andreas & Malamud, Ofer & Morrill, Melinda & Wozniak, Abigail, 2016. "The effect of college education on mortality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 99-114.

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