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Declining Wealth and Work among Male Veterans in the Health and Retirement Study

Author

Listed:
  • Alan Gustman

    (Dartmouth College)

  • Thomas Steinmeier

    (Texas Tech University)

  • Nahid Tabatabai

    (Dartmouth College)

Abstract

The composition, wealth, and employment of male veterans and nonveterans are analyzed for four cohorts from the Health and Retirement Study, ages 51 to 56 in 1992, 1998, 2004, and 2010. Half of the two oldest cohorts served in the military. Only 16 percent of the youngest cohort, the only cohort subject to the all-volunteer military, served. One-fifth to one-third of the members of each cohort who served saw combat, mainly in Vietnam and in the Gulf War. Among those 51 to 56 in 1992, veterans were better educated, healthier, wealthier, and more likely to be working than nonveterans. By 2010, 51- to 56-year-old veterans had lost their educational advantage, were less healthy, less wealthy, and less likely to be working than nonveterans. After standardizing in multiple regressions for the influence of major observable characteristics, for the original 1992 HRS cohort, the wealth of veterans is no longer higher than the wealth of nonveterans. In contrast, the wealth of veterans from the youngest cohort, those 51 to 56 in 2010, remains about 10 to 13 percent below the wealth of nonveterans from that cohort. There also is a decline from older to younger cohorts of veterans compared to nonveterans in the probability of being not retired, of working more than 35 hours per week, and in the likelihood of holding a job for more than 10 years. Comparisons are made within the group of veterans by years of service, officer rank and other covariates.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Gustman & Thomas Steinmeier & Nahid Tabatabai, 2015. "Declining Wealth and Work among Male Veterans in the Health and Retirement Study," Working Papers wp323, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp323
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    File URL: http://www.mrrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/Papers/pdf/wp323.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Congressional Budget Office, 2012. "Costs of Military Pay and Benefits in the Defense Budget," Reports 43574, Congressional Budget Office.
    2. Angrist, Joshua & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Why Do World War II Veterans Earn More Than Nonveterans?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(1), pages 74-97, January.
    3. 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.
    4. Courtney Coile & Mark Duggan & Audrey Guo, 2015. "Veterans' Labor Force Participation: What Role Does the VA's Disability Compensation Program Play?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 131-136, May.
    5. Gustman, Alan L. & Steinmeier, Thomas L. & Tabatabai, Nahid, 2010. "Pensions in the Health and Retirement Study," Economics Books, Harvard University Press, number 9780674048669, Spring.
    6. repec:cbo:report:43574 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Angrist, Joshua D, 1990. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records: Errata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1284-1286, December.
    8. Congressional Budget Office, 2012. "Costs of Military Pay and Benefits in the Defense Budget," Reports 43574, Congressional Budget Office.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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