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Pathways to the All‐Volunteer Military


  • Glen H. Elder
  • Lin Wang
  • Naomi J. Spence
  • Daniel E. Adkins
  • Tyson H. Brown


Objectives. The present study investigates the role of a disadvantaged background, the lack of social connectedness, and behavioral problems in channeling young men to the opportunities of the all‐volunteer military instead of to college or the labor market. Methods. Data from three waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the United States are employed. The analytic sample consists of 6,938 white, black, and other males. Results. The greatest likelihood of military service versus college or the labor force occurs when young men of at least modest ability come from disadvantaged circumstances, experience minimal connectedness to others, and report a history of adolescent fighting. Discussion. Findings highlight the value of access to post high school education and worklife opportunities as a military service incentive for less advantaged young men in the all‐volunteer era.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:socsci:v:91:y:2010:i:2:p:455-475
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2010.00702.x

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
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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. 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.
    3. 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.

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