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Do Guns Displace Books? – The Impact of Compulsory Military Service on Educational Attainment

  • Thomas K. Bauer

    ()

  • Stefan Bender
  • Alfredo R. Paloyo
  • Christoph M. Schmidt

Compulsory military service typically drafts young men when they are at the height of their learning ability. Thus, it can be expected to depress the demand for higher education since skill atrophy and the delayed entry into the civilian labor market reduce the returns to human-capital investments. Attending university, however, might open the possibility to avoid the draft, leading to an increase in the demand for tertiary education. To estimate the causal eff ect of conscription on the probability to obtain a university degree, we use a regression-discontinuity design that employs special regulations associated with the introduction of conscription in Germany in 1956. We estimate conscription to increase the probability of having a university degree.

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Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen in its series Ruhr Economic Papers with number 0260.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: May 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rwi:repape:0260
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  1. Grenet, Julien & Hart, Robert A. & Roberts, J. Elizabeth, 2011. "Above and Beyond the Call: Long-Term Real Earnings Effects of British Male Military Conscription in the Post-War Years," IZA Discussion Papers 5563, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Alan B. Krueger & Joshua D. Angrist, 1989. "Why do World War II Veterans Earn More Than Nonveterans?," NBER Working Papers 2991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. John Bound & Sarah Turner, 2002. "Going to War and Going to College: Did World War II and the G.I. Bill Increase Educational Attainment for Returning Veterans?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 784-815, October.
  4. Eric Maurin & Theodora Xenogiani, 2007. "Demand for Education and Labor Market Outcomes: Lessons from the Abolition of Compulsory Conscription in France," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(4).
  5. Katarina Keller & Panu Poutvaara & Andreas Wagener, 2009. "Does Military Draft Discourage Enrollment in Higher Education? Evidence from OECD Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 2838, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. 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 313-36, June.
  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 1284-86, December.
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