The Civilian Earnings Experience of Vietnam - Era Veterans
In this paper we examine the civilian earnings experience of Vietnam-era veterans and nonveterans between 1968 and 1977. Contrary to the results of other studies indicating sizable premiums for veterans of earlier wars but significant penalties for Vietnam veterans, we find only small overall differences between the earnings of Vietnam-era veterans and similar nonveterans. However, the absorption of veterans into the civilian labor market was slow, particularly during the early seventies. More detailed analysis shows that Vietnam-era veterans exhibited longitudinal earnings profiles which were initially lower but steeper than those of nonveterans, that veterans' relative earnings improved toward the end of this period, and that younger birth cohorts may have fared more poorly than older cohorts. Only those with less than a high school education consistently realized veteran premiums. We find no evidence that military service has benefited recent cohorts of nonwhite veterans.
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