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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. John Bound & Sarah E. Turner, 1999. "Going to War and Going to College: Did World War II and the G.I. Bill Increase Educational Attainment for Returning Veterans?," NBER Working Papers 7452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Grenet, Julien & Hart, Robert A & Roberts, J Elizabeth, 2010. "Above and beyond the call. Long-term real earnings effects of British male military conscription in the post-war years," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2010-08, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  3. Keller, Katarina & Poutvaara, Panu & Wagener, Andreas, 2009. "Does Military Draft Discourage Enrollment in Higher Education? Evidence from OECD Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 4399, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Bender, Stefan & Haas, Anette & Klose, Christoph, 2000. "IAB Employment Subsample 1975-1995 Opportunities for Analysis Provided by the Anonymised Subsample," IZA Discussion Papers 117, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Puhani, Patrick A. & Weber, Andrea M., 2005. "Does the Early Bird Catch the Worm? Instrumental Variable Estimates of Educational Effects of Age of School Entry in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 1827, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Paul Gregg & Jane Waldfogel, 2005. "Introduction," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(501), pages F1-F6, 02.
  7. Patrick Puhani & Andrea Weber, 2007. "Does the early bird catch the worm?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 359-386, May.
  8. repec:rwi:repape:0141 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Atsushi Inoue & Gary Solon, 2005. "Two-Sample Instrumental Variables Estimators," NBER Technical Working Papers 0311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Mary Gregory & Miriam Beblo & Wiemer Salverda & Ioannis Theodossiou, 2009. "Introduction," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(suppl_1), pages i1-i10, April.
  12. Eric Maurin & Theodora Xenogiani, 2007. "Demand for Education and Lbour Market Outcomes: Lessons from the Abolition of Compulsory Conscription in France," Post-Print halshs-00754194, HAL.
  13. Piero Cipollone & Alfonso Rosolia, 2006. "Social Interactions in High School: Lessons from an Earthquake," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 596, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  14. Di Pietro, Giorgio, 2009. "Military Conscription and University Enrolment: Evidence from Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 4212, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Fertig, Michael & Kluve, Jochen, 2005. "The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 1507, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Lori G. Kletzer & Robert W. Fairlie, 2003. "The Long-Term Costs of Job Displacement for Young Adult Workers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(4), pages 682-698, July.
  17. Joshua D. Angrist & Stacey H. Chen, 2007. "Long-term consequences of vietnam-era conscription: schooling, experience, and earnings," NBER Working Papers 13411, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Battistin, Erich & Rettore, Enrico, 2008. "Ineligibles and eligible non-participants as a double comparison group in regression-discontinuity designs," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 715-730, February.
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