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To draft or not to draft? Inefficiency, generational incidence, and political economy of military conscription

  • Poutvaara, Panu
  • Wagener, Andreas

We study the efficiency and distributional consequences of establishing and abolishing the draft in a dynamic model with overlapping generations, taking into account endogenous human capital formation as well as government budget constraints. The introduction of the draft initially benefits the older generation while harming the young and all future generations. Its Pareto-improving abolition requires levying age-dependent taxes on the young. These being infeasible, abolition of the draft would harm the old. The intergenerational incidence of the gains and losses from its introduction and abolition helps to explain the political allure of the draft.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V97-4NBRFK2-1/2/740701301e283e6a6b689c7614ff4bd2
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 23 (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 975-987

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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:23:y:2007:i:4:p:975-987
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544

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  1. Imbens, Guido & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 1995. "Evaluating the Cost of Conscription in The Netherlands," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 207-15, April.
  2. John T. Warner & Beth J. Asch, 2001. "The Record and Prospects of the All-Volunteer Military in the United States," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 169-192, Spring.
  3. Angrist, Joshua D, 1990. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 313-36, June.
  4. Casey Mulligan & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Conscription as Regulation," NBER Working Papers 10558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521447287 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Panu Poutvaara & Andreas Wagener, 2005. "To Draft or not to Draft? Efficiency, Generational Incidence, and Political Economy of Military Conscription," CESifo Working Paper Series 1454, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Morten I. Lau & Panu Poutvaara & Andreas Wagener, 2004. "Dynamic Costs of the Draft," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 5(4), pages 381-406, November.
  8. Fisher, Anthony C, 1969. "The Cost of the Draft and the Cost of Ending the Draft," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(3), pages 239-54, June.
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