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Opportunity Cost and the Incidence of a Draft Lottery

  • Bingley, Paul


    (The Danish National Centre for Social Research – SFI)

  • Lundborg, Petter


    (Department of Economics, Lund University)

  • Vincent Lyk-Jensen, Stéphanie


    (The Danish National Centre for Social Research – SFI)

Military conscription implicitly taxes draftees. Those who would have volunteered at the market wage may be forced to serve for lower wages, and those with higher opportunity costs may be forced to serve regardless, yet little is known about the distribution of this burden. We exploit the Danish draft lottery to estimate the causal effect of military service on labor earnings of young men across the cognitive ability distribution. We find that high ability men who are induced to serve face a 7 percent earnings penalty, whereas low ability men face none. Educational career disruption is an important channel.

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Paper provided by Lund University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2014:10.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 21 Mar 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2014_010
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund,Sweden
Phone: +46 +46 222 0000
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  1. 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).
  2. Joshua D. Angrist & Stacey H. Chen & Brigham R. Frandsen, 2009. "Did Vietnam Veterans Get Sicker in the 1990s? The Complicated Effects of Military Service on Self-Reported Health," NBER Working Papers 14781, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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 207-15, April.
  4. Card, David & Cardoso, Ana Rute, 2011. "Can Compulsory Military Service Raise Civilian Wages? Evidence from the Peacetime Draft in Portugal," IZA Discussion Papers 5915, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 1989. "Why Do World War II Veterans Earn More Than Nonveterans?," Working Papers 634, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  6. Grenet, Julien & Hart, Robert A. & Roberts, J. Elizabeth, 2011. "Above and beyond the call. Long-term real earnings effects of British male military conscription in the post-war years," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 194-204, April.
  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. Joshua D. Angrist & Stacey H. Chen & Jae Song, 2011. "Long-Term Consequences of Vietnam-Era Conscription: New Estimates Using Social Security Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 334-38, May.
  9. Sebastian Galiani & Martín A. Rossi & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2010. "Conscription and Crime: Evidence from the Argentine Draft Lottery," Working Papers 2010.55, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  10. 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 313-36, June.
  11. 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.
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