IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Long-Term Effects of Vietnam-Era Conscription: Schooling, Experience and Earnings


  • Joshua Angrist
  • Stacey Chen


Instrumental variables (IV) estimates using the draft lottery show that white Vietnam-era draftees suffered substantial post-service earnings losses in the 1970s and 1980s. Angrist (1990) explains these losses as due primarily to lost labor market experience. Non-public use data from the 2000 Census allow the first longerterm follow-up for a large sample from the draft-lottery cohorts. We use these data to estimate the effects of military service on earnings, schooling, and a number of other variables. Consistent with the loss-of -experience model, IV estimates of the effects of Vietnam-era service on earnings are close to zero in 2000, when the draft-lottery cohorts were middle-aged and experience profiles relatively flat. On the other hand, draft-lottery estimates show a marked increase in schooling for Vietnam-era veterans. A variety of evidence suggests this increase reflects the impact of the Vietnam-era GI Bill more than draft-avoidance behavior. The economic return to the increased schooling generated by Vietnam-era service, estimated in a wage equation that constrains the impact of Vietnam-era military service to run solely through the experience and schooling channels, appears to be less than the OLS return. Finally, we look at measures of disability. The IV estimates point to an increase in non-workrelated disability rates and non-SSA disability income, but the fact that there is no corresponding effect on employment, hours worked, or work-related disability rates suggests health was affected little by Vietnam-era service. Allowing for excess disability among veterans raises the estimated returns to GI-Bill schooling slightly.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua Angrist & Stacey Chen, 2007. "Long-Term Effects of Vietnam-Era Conscription: Schooling, Experience and Earnings," Working Papers 07-23, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:07-23

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2007
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Henderson, Daniel J. & Polachek, Solomon W. & Wang, Le, 2011. "Heterogeneity in schooling rates of return," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1202-1214.
    2. Rosemary Hyson & Alice Zawacki, 2008. "Health-Related Research Using Confidential U.S. Census Bureau Data," Working Papers 08-21, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:07-23. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Erica Coates). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.