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Effects of Work-Related Absences on Families: Evidence from the Gulf War

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  • Joshua D. Angrist
  • John H. Johnson, IV

Abstract

Labor economists and policy makers have long been interested in work-family interactions. Work generates income but also reduces the time families have to spend together. Many soldiers who were mobilized for Gulf War service were away from home for an extended period of time, so Gulf War mobilization makes for an interesting case study of work-related absences by both husbands and wives. We estimate the effect of Gulf War deployment on employment rates for soldiers' spouses, divorce rates, and disability rates among soldiers' children. Data from the 1992 Survey of Officers and Enlisted Personnel show that personnel deployed to the Gulf spent 3-6 more months away from home than non-deployed personnel. The estimates suggest that deployments of a male soldier reduced wives' employment rates, probably because of added child care responsibilities. Deployment of a female soldier left husbands' employment rates unchanged, but female deployment is associated with significantly higher post-deployment divorce rates. Finally sample of men and women show no significant increase in the incidence of temporary disabilities among the children of deployed personnel. This may be because for most military families, deployment was not associated with a change in living standards.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua D. Angrist & John H. Johnson, IV, 1998. "Effects of Work-Related Absences on Families: Evidence from the Gulf War," NBER Working Papers 6679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6679
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1996. "The Effect of Teen Childbearing and Single Parenthood on Childhood Disabilities and Progress in School," NBER Working Papers 5807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Saul D. Hoffman & Greg J. Duncan, 1995. "The Effect of Incomes, Wages, and AFDC Benefits on Marital Disruption," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 19-41.
    3. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-1187, December.
    4. Blau, Francine D & Grossberg, Adam J, 1992. "Maternal Labor Supply and Children's Cognitive Development," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 474-481, August.
    5. Angrist, Joshua D & Evans, William N, 1998. "Children and Their Parents' Labor Supply: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Family Size," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 450-477, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Engel, Rozlyn C. & Gallagher, Luke B. & Lyle, David S., 2010. "Military deployments and children's academic achievement: Evidence from Department of Defense Education Activity Schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 73-82, February.
    2. Antecol, Heather & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A., 2008. "Racial and ethnic discrimination in local consumer markets: Exploiting the army's procedures for matching personnel to duty locations," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 496-509, September.
    3. Antecol, Heather & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A., 2010. "The effect of community-level socio-economic conditions on threatening racial encounters," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 517-529, November.
    4. Antecol, Heather & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A., 2008. "Identity and racial harassment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 66(3-4), pages 529-557, June.
    5. Cesur, Resul & Sabia, Joseph J. & Tekin, Erdal, 2013. "The psychological costs of war: Military combat and mental health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 51-65.
    6. David S. Lyle, 2006. "Using Military Deployments and Job Assignments to Estimate the Effect of Parental Absences and Household Relocations on Children's Academic Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 319-350, April.
    7. P. Wesley Routon, 2017. "Military service and marital dissolution: a trajectory analysis," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 335-355, March.
    8. 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.
    9. Sebastian Negrusa & Brighita Negrusa & James Hosek, 2014. "Gone to war: have deployments increased divorces?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(2), pages 473-496, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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