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College, Jobs, or the Military? Enlistment During a Time of War

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  • Meredith A. Kleykamp

Abstract

Objective. This article questions what factors are associated with joining the military after high school rather than attending college, joining the civilian labor force, or doing some other activity. Three areas of influence on military enlistment are highlighted: educational goals, the institutional presence of the military in communities, and race and socioeconomic status. Method. The analysis uses data from a recent cohort of high school graduates from the State of Texas in 2002, when the United States was at war, and employs multinomial logistic regression to model the correlates of post‐high‐school choice of activity in this cohort. Results. Results confirm the hypothesis that a higher military institutional presence increases the odds of enlisting in the military relative to enrolling in college, becoming employed, or doing some other activity after high school. Additionally, college aspirations are clearly associated with the decision to enroll in college versus enlist and also increase the odds of joining the military rather than the civilian labor market, or remaining idle. Unlike previous studies, few racial and ethnic differences are found. Conclusion. Voluntary military enlistment during wartime is associated college aspirations, lower socioeconomic status, and living in an area with a high military presence.

Suggested Citation

  • Meredith A. Kleykamp, 2006. "College, Jobs, or the Military? Enlistment During a Time of War," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 87(2), pages 272-290, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:socsci:v:87:y:2006:i:2:p:272-290
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2006.00380.x
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6237.2006.00380.x
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    Cited by:

    1. Cesur, Resul & Sabia, Joseph J. & Tekin, Erdal, 2013. "The psychological costs of war: Military combat and mental health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 51-65.
    2. Pinka Chatterji & Xiangshi Liu & Barış K. Yörük, 2019. "Effects of the 2010 Affordable Care Act Dependent Care Provision on Military Participation Among Young Adults," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 45(1), pages 87-111, January.
    3. Campante, Filipe & Yanagizawa-Drott, David, 2015. "The Intergenerational Transmission of War," Working Paper Series rwp15-039, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    4. Alair MacLean, 2018. "A Few Good Men and Women: Gender, Race, and Status in the Wartime Volunteer Military," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 37(4), pages 591-613, August.
    5. Allyson Flaster, 2018. "Kids, College, and Capital: Parental Financial Support and College Choice," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 59(8), pages 979-1020, December.
    6. Glen H. Elder & Lin Wang & Naomi J. Spence & Daniel E. Adkins & Tyson H. Brown, 2010. "Pathways to the All‐Volunteer Military," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 91(2), pages 455-475, June.
    7. Pinka Chatterji & Xiangshi Liu & Barış K. Yörük, 2019. "Effects of the 2010 Affordable Care Act Dependent Care Provision on Military Participation Among Young Adults," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 45(1), pages 87-111, January.
    8. JooHee Han, 2018. "Who Goes to College, Military, Prison, or Long-Term Unemployment? Racialized School-to-Labor Market Transitions Among American Men," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 37(4), pages 615-640, August.
    9. Lyk-Jensen, Stéphanie Vincent & Weatherall, Cecilie Dohlmann & Jepsen, Peter Winning, 2016. "The effect of military deployment on mental health," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 193-208.
    10. Amy Kate Bailey & Meredith Kleykamp, 2018. "Editors’ Introduction," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 37(4), pages 511-516, August.

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