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Drawn into Violence: Evidence on 'What Makes a Criminal' from the Vietnam Draft Lotteries

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  • Lindo, Jason M.

    (Texas A&M University)

  • Stoecker, Charles

    (University of California, Davis)

Abstract

Draft lottery number assignment during the Vietnam era provides a natural experiment to examine the effects of military service on crime. Using exact dates of birth for inmates in state and federal prisons in 1979, 1986, and 1991, we find robust evidence of effects on violent crimes among whites. In particular, we find that draft eligibility increases incarceration rates for violent crimes by 14 to 19 percent. Based on Angrist and Chen's (2008) estimate of the effect of draft eligibility on veteran status, these estimates imply that military service increases the probability of incarceration for a violent crime by 0.27 percentage points. Results for nonwhites are not robust. We conduct two falsification tests, one that applies each of the three binding lotteries to unaffected cohorts and another that considers the effects of lotteries that were not used to draft servicemen.

Suggested Citation

  • Lindo, Jason M. & Stoecker, Charles, 2010. "Drawn into Violence: Evidence on 'What Makes a Criminal' from the Vietnam Draft Lotteries," IZA Discussion Papers 5172, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5172
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Siminski & Simon Ville, 2012. "I Was Only Nineteen, 45 Years Ago: What Can we Learn from Australia’s Conscription Lotteries?," Economics Working Papers wp12-06, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
    2. Hjalmarsson, Randi & Lindquist, Matthew, 2016. "The Causal Effect of Military Conscription on Crime and the Labor Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 11110, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Xintong Wang & Alfonso Flores-Lagunes, 2022. "Conscription and Military Service: Do They Result in Future Violent and Nonviolent Incarcerations and Recidivism?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 57(5), pages 1715-1757.
    4. Rohlfs Chris, 2012. "The Economic Cost of Conscription and an Upper Bound on the Value of a Statistical Life: Hedonic Estimates from Two Margins of Response to the Vietnam Draft," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 3(3), pages 1-37, August.
    5. Daniel Grossman & John Cawley & Damien de Walque, 2018. "Effect of Stress on Later‐Life Health: Evidence from the Vietnam War Draft," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 85(1), pages 142-165, July.
    6. Pierre Mouganie, 2020. "Conscription and the Returns to Education: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 122(3), pages 1112-1139, July.
    7. Giulia La Mattina & Olga N. Shemyakina, 2017. "Domestic Violence and Childhood Exposure to Armed Conflict: Attitudes and Experiences," HiCN Working Papers 255, Households in Conflict Network.
    8. John Cawley & Damien de Walque & Daniel Grossman, 2017. "The Effect of Stress on Later-Life Health: Evidence from the Vietnam Draft," NBER Working Papers 23334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Baldwin Kate & Bhavnani Rikhil R., 2015. "Ancillary Studies of Experiments: Opportunities and Challenges," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 113-146, June.
    10. Alfredo Paloyo & Colin Vance & Matthias Vorell, 2014. "Local determinants of crime," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 31(21), pages 625-658.
    11. Eva Deuchert & Martin Huber, 2017. "A Cautionary Tale About Control Variables in IV Estimation," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 79(3), pages 411-425, June.
    12. Cesur, Resul & Sabia, Joseph J. & Tekin, Erdal, 2020. "Post-9/11 War Deployments Increased Crime among Veterans," IZA Discussion Papers 13304, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Peter Siminski & Simon Ville & Alexander Paull, 2016. "Does the military turn men into criminals? New evidence from Australia’s conscription lotteries," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 197-218, January.
    14. Lyk-Jensen, Stéphanie Vincent, 2018. "Does peacetime military service affect crime? New evidence from Denmark’s conscription lotteries," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 245-262.
    15. Duha T. Altindag & Bahadіr Dursun & Elif S. Filiz, 2022. "The effect of education on unemployment duration," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 60(1), pages 21-42, January.
    16. Kate Baldwin & Rikhil R. Bhavnani, 2013. "Ancillary Experiments: Opportunities and Challenges," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2013-024, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    17. Baldwin, Kate & Bhavnani, Rikhil R., 2013. "Ancillary Experiments: Opportunities and Challenges," WIDER Working Paper Series 024, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    18. Brighita Negrusa & Sebastian Negrusa, 2014. "Home Front: Post-Deployment Mental Health and Divorces," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(3), pages 895-916, June.
    19. Siminski, Peter & Ville, Simon & Paull, Alexander, 2013. "Does the Military Train Men to Be Violent Criminals? New Evidence from Australia's Conscription Lotteries," IZA Discussion Papers 7152, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. Mocan, Naci & Raschke, Christian & Unel, Bulent, 2015. "The impact of mothers’ earnings on health inputs and infant health," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 204-223.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Vietnam War; crime; violence; military; two-sample IV;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War

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