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The political economy of conscription

  • Poutvaara, Panu
  • Wagener, Andreas

Though in decline recently, military conscription is still a widely used mode of staffing armies. Since not many valid economic, social or military arguments in favor of the draft can be put forward, the question emerges why societies choose to rely on it. In this survey we explain the political allure of military conscription by its specific intra- and intergenerational incidence as a tax. From a public choice perspective, there is always a vast majority of people in favor of the introduction and maintenance of military draft, as compared to a professional army. Empirical evidence for this conclusion appears to be mixed, however. Political preferences with respect to conscription involve concerns about its unfairness and questionable record on social accounts. Special interests may also matter.

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This chapter was published in: Poutvaara, Panu & Wagener, Andreas , , pages , .
This item is provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Chapters in Economics with number 19807.
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muench:19807
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  1. John Warner & Sebastian Negrusa, 2005. "Evasion costs and the theory Of conscription," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(2), pages 83-100.
  2. 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.
  3. Casey Mulligan & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Conscription as Regulation," NBER Working Papers 10558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lau, Morten I. & Poutvaara, Panu & Wagener, Andreas, 2004. "Dynamic costs of the draft," Munich Reprints in Economics 19265, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Imbens, G. & Van Der Klaauw, W., 1993. "Evaluating the Cost of Conscription in the Netherlands," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1632, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  6. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521898010 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Piero Cipollone & Alfonso Rosolia, 2007. "Social Interactions in High School: Lessons from an Earthquake," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 948-965, June.
  8. Keller, Katarina & Poutvaara, Panu & Wagener, Andreas, 2006. "Military Draft and Economic Growth in OECD Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 2022, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. 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.
  10. Eric Maurin & Theodora Xenogiani, 2007. "Demand for Education and Labor Market Outcomes: Lessons from the Abolition of Compulsory Conscription in France," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(4).
  11. Avant, Deborah, 2000. "From Mercenary to Citizen Armies: Explaining Change in the Practice of War," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(01), pages 41-72, December.
  12. Warner, John T., 1995. "The economics of military manpower," Handbook of Defense Economics, in: Keith Hartley & Todd Sandler (ed.), Handbook of Defense Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 13, pages 347-398 Elsevier.
  13. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521447287 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Spencer, Daniel L & Woroniak, Alexander, 1969. "Valuing Transfer of Military-Acquired Skills to Civilian Employment," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(3), pages 467-92.
  15. Thomas Lemieux & David Card, 2001. "Going to College to Avoid the Draft: The Unintended Legacy of the Vietnam War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 97-102, May.
  16. Michael Lokshin & Ruslan Yemtsov, 2008. "Who bears the cost of Russia's military draft?," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 16(3), pages 359-387, 07.
  17. J. Paul Dunne & Ron Smith & Dirk Willenbockel, 2005. "Models Of Military Expenditure And Growth: A Critical Review," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(6), pages 449-461.
  18. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521725200 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Panu Poutvaara & Andreas Wagener, 2007. "Conscription: Economic costs and political allure," Economics of Peace and Security Journal, Economists for Peace and Security, vol. 2(1), pages 6-15, January.
  20. Panu Poutvaara & Andreas Wagener, 2007. "Conscription: Economic costs and political allure," Economics of Peace and Security Journal, Economists for Peace and Security, vol. 2(1), pages 6-15, January.
  21. Gordon, Roger H. & Bai, Chong-En & Li, David D., 1999. "Efficiency losses from tax distortions vs. government control," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 1095-1103, April.
  22. Robert H. Bates & Avner Greif & Margaret Levi & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 1998. "Analytic Narratives," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 6355.
  23. Michael D. Stroup & Jac C. Heckelman, 2001. "Size Of The Military Sector And Economic Growth: A Panel Data Analysis Of Africa And Latin America," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 329-360, November.
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