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Military Positions and Post-Service Occupational Mobility of Union Army Veterans, 1861-1880

  • Chulhee Lee

Although the Civil War has attracted a great deal of scholarly attention, little is known about how different wartime experiences of soldiers influenced their civilian lives after the war. This paper examines how military rank and duty of Union Army soldiers while in service affected their post-service occupational mobility. Higher ranks and non-infantry duties appear to have provided more opportunities for developing skills, especially those required for white-collar jobs. Among the recruits who were unskilled workers at the time of enlistment, commissioned and non-commissioned officers were much more likely to move up to a white-collar job by 1880. Similarly, unskilled recruits who had served on white-collar military duties were more likely to enter a white-collar occupation by 1880. The higher occupational mobility of higher-ranking soldiers is likely to have resulted from disparate human capital accumulations offered by their military positions rather than from their superior abilities.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12416.

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Date of creation: Aug 2006
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Publication status: published as Lee, Chulhee, 2007. "Military positions and post-service occupational mobility of Union Army veterans, 1861-1880," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 680-698, October.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12416
Note: DAE LS
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  1. Robert William Fogel, 1993. "New Sources and New Techniques for the Study of Secular Trends in Nutritional Status, Health, Mortality, and the Process of Aging," NBER Historical Working Papers 0026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Joshua Angrist, 1989. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records," Working Papers 631, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Lee, Chulhee, 1997. "Socioeconomic Background, Disease, and Mortality among Union Army Recruits: Implications for Economic and Demographic History," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 27-55, January.
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  5. Chulhee Lee, 2003. "Prior Exposure to Disease and Later Health and Mortality. Evidence from Civil War Medical Records," NBER Chapters, in: Health and Labor Force Participation over the Life Cycle: Evidence from the Past, pages 51-88 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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 1284-86, December.
  7. Lee, Chulhee, 2008. "Health, Information, and Migration: Geographic Mobility of Union Army Veterans, 1860–1880," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(03), pages 862-899, September.
  8. Joseph P. Ferrie, 2005. "History Lessons: The End of American Exceptionalism? Mobility in the United States Since 1850," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 199-215, Summer.
  9. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2004. "Shame and Ostracism: Union Army Deserters Leave Home," NBER Working Papers 10425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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..
  11. Jason Long & Joseph Ferrie, 2005. "A Tale of Two Labor Markets: Intergenerational Occupational Mobility in Britain and the U.S. Since 1850," NBER Working Papers 11253, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Joshua D. Angrist, 1995. "Estimating the Labor Market Impact of Voluntary Military Service Using Social Security Data on Military Applicants," NBER Working Papers 5192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Goldin, Claudia D. & Lewis, Frank D., 1975. "The Economic Cost of the American Civil War: Estimates and Implications," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(02), pages 299-326, June.
  14. Lee, Chulhee, 2005. "Wealth Accumulation and the Health of Union Army Veterans, 1860 1870," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(02), pages 352-385, June.
  15. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2004. "Forging a New Identity: The Costs and Benefits of Diversity in Civil War Combat Units for Black Slaves and Freemen," NBER Working Papers 11013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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