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To Draft or not to Draft? Efficiency, Generational Incidence, and Political Economy of Military Conscription

Author

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  • Panu Poutvaara

    ()

  • Andreas Wagener

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1454
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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 239-254, June.
    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. 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 207-215, April.
    4. Casey B. Mulligan, 2005. "Conscription as Regulation," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 85-111.
    5. 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.
    6. 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 313-336, June.
    7. W. Lee Hansen & Burton A. Weisbrod, 1967. "Economics of the Military Draft," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(3), pages 395-421.
    8. Poutvaara, Panu & Wagener, Andreas, 2007. "To draft or not to draft? Inefficiency, generational incidence, and political economy of military conscription," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 975-987, December.
    9. Sandler,Todd & Hartley,Keith, 1995. "The Economics of Defense," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521447287.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Patrick L. Warren, 2012. "Volunteer Militaries, The Draft, and Support for War," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(3), pages 227-258, November.
    2. Vesa Kanniainen & Staffan Ringbom, 2014. "Security Gradient and National Defense - The Optimal Choice between a Draft Army and a Professional Army," CESifo Working Paper Series 4707, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Thomas Koch & Javier Birchenall, 2016. "Taking versus taxing: an analysis of conscription in a private information economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 167(3), pages 177-199, June.
    4. Poutvaara, Panu & Wagener, Andreas, 2007. "To draft or not to draft? Inefficiency, generational incidence, and political economy of military conscription," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 975-987, December.
    5. Frank Hubers & Dinand Webbink, 2015. "The long-term effects of military conscription on educational attainment and wages," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-16, December.
    6. Antonis Adam, 2012. "Military conscription as a means of stabilizing democratic regimes," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(3), pages 715-730, March.
    7. Perri Tim, 2010. "Deferments and the Relative Cost of Conscription," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-29, November.
    8. Martin Gonzalez Eiras & Dirk Niepelt, 2004. "Sustaining Social Security," Working Papers 72, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Jun 2004.
    9. Niklas Potrafke & Felix Rösel, 2016. "Opening Hours of Polling Stations and Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 6036, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Panu Poutvaara & Andreas Wagener, 2011. "The Political Economy of Conscription," Chapters,in: The Handbook on the Political Economy of War, chapter 9 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    11. Danko Tarabar & Joshua C. Hall, 2015. "Explaining the Worldwide Decline in Military Conscription: 1970-2010," Working Papers 15-30, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    12. Panu Poutvaara & Andreas Wagener, 2011. "Ending Military Conscription," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 9(2), pages 36-43, 07.
    13. Tim Perri, 2013. "Can a draft induce more human capital investment in the military?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(2), pages 905-913.
    14. Giorgio Pietro, 2013. "Military conscription and university enrolment: evidence from Italy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(2), pages 619-644, April.
    15. Yew-Kwang Ng, 2008. "Why is the Military Draft Common? Conscription and Increasing Returns," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 9(2), pages 373-384, November.
    16. Danko Tarabar & Joshua C. Hall, 2016. "Explaining the worldwide decline in the length of mandatory military service, 1970–2010," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 168(1), pages 55-74, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    draft; conscription; education; intergenerational fairness;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H57 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Procurement
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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