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Can Compulsory Military Service Raise Civilian Wages? Evidence from the Peacetime Draft in Portugal

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  • Card, David

    () (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Cardoso, Ana Rute

    () (IAE Barcelona (CSIC))

Abstract

Although the practice of military conscription was widespread during most of the past century, credible evidence on the effects of mandatory service is limited. Angrist (1990) showed that the Vietnam-era draft in the U.S. lowered the early-career wages of conscripts, a finding he attributed to the low value of military experience. More recent studies have found a mixed pattern of effects, with both negative (the Netherlands) and positive (in Sweden) earnings impacts. Even among Vietnam era draftees, Angrist and Chen (2011) find that the net effect on earnings by age 50 is close to zero. We provide new evidence on the long-term impacts of peacetime conscription in a "low education" labor market, using longitudinal data for Portuguese men born in 1967. These men were inducted at a relatively late age (21), allowing us to use pre- conscription wages as a control for potential ability differences between conscripts and non- conscripts. Our estimates of the average impact of military service for men who had entered the labor market by age 21 are slightly positive (1-2 percent) but not significantly different from zero throughout the period from 2 to 20 years after their service. These small average effects arise from a significantly positive later-life impact for men with only primary education, coupled with a zero-effect for men with higher education. The positive impacts for less-educated men suggest that mandatory service can be a valuable experience for poorly-educated men who might otherwise spend their careers in low-level jobs.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5915
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    Cited by:

    1. David Card & Ana Rute Cardoso & Joerg Heining & Patrick Kline, 2018. "Firms and Labor Market Inequality: Evidence and Some Theory," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(S1), pages 13-70.
    2. repec:bla:scandj:v:119:y:2017:i:3:p:512-540 is not listed on IDEAS
    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. repec:spr:jlabrs:v:51:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1186_s12651-017-0230-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Vincent Aidan O'Sullivan, 2016. "The effect of military service on earnings in Britain," Working Papers 125437295, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    6. Bingley, Paul & Lundborg, Petter & Vincent Lyk-Jensen, Stéphanie, 2014. "Opportunity Cost and the Incidence of a Draft Lottery," Working Papers 2014:10, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    7. Brennan Mange & David C. Phillips, 2016. "Career Interruption and Productivity: Evidence from Major League Baseball during the Vietnam War Era," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(2), pages 159-185.
    8. Peter Siminski & Simon Ville & Alexander Paull, 2013. "Does the Military Train Men to be Violent Criminals? New Evidence from Australia’s Conscription Lotteries," Economics Working Papers wp13-01, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. Erik Grönqvist & Erik Lindqvist, 2016. "The Making of a Manager: Evidence from Military Officer Training," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(4), pages 869-898.
    12. Majbouri, Mahdi, 2017. "Sir! I'd Rather Go to School, Sir!," IZA Discussion Papers 10787, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. repec:bla:obuest:v:79:y:2017:i:6:p:1176-1194 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Karsten Albæk & Søren Leth-Petersen & Daniel Maire & Torben Tranæs, 2017. "Does Peacetime Military Service Affect Crime?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 119(3), pages 512-540, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    military conscription; longitudinal earnings; sensitivity analysis; quasi-differences;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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