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The fiscal role of conscription in the U.S. World War II effort

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  • Siu, Henry E.

Abstract

An often overlooked role of conscription is as a method of lump sum taxation in times of war. Conscription of military personnel allows the fiscal authority to minimize wartime government expenditure, and hence, minimize tax distortions associated with war finance. This paper presents a simple dynamic general equilibrium model to articulate this view, and calibrates the model to the U.S. World War II experience. Analysis of the calibrated model indicates that the welfare value of conscription as a fiscal policy tool is quantitatively large: despite the fact that the American involvement lasted only four years, conscription is worth approximately 2% of annual aggregate consumption in perpetuity.

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  • Siu, Henry E., 2008. "The fiscal role of conscription in the U.S. World War II effort," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(6), pages 1094-1112, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:55:y:2008:i:6:p:1094-1112
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    Cited by:

    1. Matthias Doepke & Moshe Hazan & Yishay D. Maoz, 2015. "The Baby Boom and World War II: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(3), pages 1031-1073.
    2. Stéphane Auray & Aurélien Eyquem, 2016. "Episodes of War and Peace in an Estimated Open Economy Model," Working Papers 2016-01, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    3. Thomas Koch & Javier Birchenall, 2016. "Taking versus taxing: an analysis of conscription in a private information economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 167(3), pages 177-199, June.
    4. Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Identifying Government Spending Shocks: It's all in the Timing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 1-50.
    5. Gunji, Hiroshi & Miyazaki, Kenji, 2011. "Estimates of average marginal tax rates on factor incomes in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 81-106, June.
    6. Hansen, G.D. & Ohanian, L.E., 2016. "Neoclassical Models in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.

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