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

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  • Jason M. Lindo
  • Charles F. Stoecker

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 that draft eligibility increases incarceration for violent crimes but decreases incarceration for non-violent crimes among whites. This is particularly evident in 1979, where two-sample instrumental variable estimates indicate that military service increases the probability of incarceration for a violent crime by 0.34 percentage points and decreases the probability of incarceration for a nonviolent crime by 0.30 percentage points. 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

  • Jason M. Lindo & Charles F. Stoecker, 2012. "Drawn into Violence: Evidence on 'What Makes a Criminal' from the Vietnam Draft Lotteries," NBER Working Papers 17818, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17818
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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. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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, September.
    6. Deuchert, Eva & Huber, Martin, 2014. "A cautionary tale about control variables in IV estimation," FSES Working Papers 453, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Freiburg/Fribourg Switzerland.
    7. 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.
    8. Baldwin, Kate & Bhavnani, Rikhil R., 2013. "Ancillary Experiments: Opportunities and Challenges," WIDER Working Paper Series 024, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    9. 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.
    10. 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 for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. 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.
    12. repec:bla:obuest:v:79:y:2017:i:3:p:411-425 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

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

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