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Can Compulsory Military Service Raise Civilian Wages? Evidence from the Peacetime Draft in Portugal

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  • David Card
  • Ana Rute Cardoso

Abstract

We provide new evidence on the long-term impacts of peacetime conscription, using longitudinal data for Portuguese men born in 1967. These men were inducted at age 21, allowing us to use preconscription wages to control for ability differences between conscripts and nonconscripts. We find a significant 4-5 percentage point impact of service on the wages of men with only primary education, coupled with a zero effect for men with higher education. The effect for less-educated men suggests that mandatory service can be a valuable experience for those who might otherwise spend their careers in low-level jobs. (JEL J24, J31, J45)

Suggested Citation

  • David Card & Ana Rute Cardoso, 2012. "Can Compulsory Military Service Raise Civilian Wages? Evidence from the Peacetime Draft in Portugal," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 57-93, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:4:y:2012:i:4:p:57-93
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.4.4.57
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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