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Uncle Sam Wants Whom? The Draft and the Quality of Military Personnel

Listed author(s):
  • Timothy Perri

It has been argued the draft may enable the military to attract more able individuals than a volunteer military and thus increase welfare. We find this may be the case if a volunteer military simply takes the least able individuals. Ignoring the deadweight loss from taxation, when the military tests individuals, does not take the lowest quality applicants, and the test is costless and accurate, neither a random draft nor a draft with testing increases welfare, and both usually decrease welfare. Only if testing is relatively costly or imprecise would a random draft dominate a volunteer military with testing. With either a low quality volunteer military or imprecise testing, a volunteer military is more likely to be preferable to a draft the larger the size of the military. The opposite is the case with either costly testing or deadweight loss from taxation to support the military. Key Words: conscription, volunteer military, testing

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Appalachian State University in its series Working Papers with number 11-12.

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Date of creation: 2011
Handle: RePEc:apl:wpaper:11-12
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