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A Fair and Equitable Method of Recruitment? Conscription by Ballot into the Australian Army during the Vietnam War

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Abstract

Australia’s commitment to the Vietnam War drew on the selective conscription of additional manpower through 16 biannual ballots. 20-year-old men were liable to serve if their date of birth was drawn out. The random nature of the ballot was seen as an equitable method of selection for a system of labour coercion that was potentially life-threatening. We investigate the various stages of conscription of these ‘national servicemen’ to undertake service in Vietnam throughout the war and evaluate the extent to which the processes provided for fair and equitable selection. Comparisons are drawn with a similar process of Vietnam-War era conscription in the United States.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Ville & Peter Siminski, 2011. "A Fair and Equitable Method of Recruitment? Conscription by Ballot into the Australian Army during the Vietnam War," Economics Working Papers wp11-05, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
  • Handle: RePEc:uow:depec1:wp11-05
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    File URL: http://www.uow.edu.au/content/groups/public/@web/@commerce/@econ/documents/doc/uow103923.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peter Siminski & Simon Ville, 2011. "Long-Run Mortality Effects of Vietnam-Era Army Service: Evidence from Australia's Conscription Lotteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 345-349.
    2. Levy, Amnon, 2007. "Optimal enlistment age: A cost-benefit analysis and some simulations," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 180(1), pages 418-425, July.
    3. Angrist, Joshua D, 1990. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 313-336.
    4. Peter Siminski, 2013. "Employment Effects of Army Service and Veterans' Compensation: Evidence from the Australian Vietnam-Era Conscription Lotteries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 87-97.
    5. Siminski, Peter, 2010. "Employment Effects of Army Service and Veterans’ Compensation: Evidence from the Australian Vietnam-Era Conscription Lotteries," Economics Working Papers wp10-13, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
    6. Withers, Glenn A, 1972. "The Wage Cost of an All-Volunteer Army," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 48(123), pages 321-339, September.
    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, pages 1284-1286.
    8. Joshua D. 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..
    9. Siminski, Peter & Ville, Simon, 2010. "Long-Run Mortality Effects of Vietnam-Era Army Service: Evidence from Australia’s Conscription Lotteries," Economics Working Papers wp10-06, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
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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. Johnston, David W. & Shields, Michael A. & Siminski, Peter, 2016. "Long-term health effects of Vietnam-era military service: A quasi-experiment using Australian conscription lotteries," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 12-26.
    3. 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, pages 197-218.
    4. Patulny, Roger & Siminski, Peter & Mendolia, Silvia, 2015. "The front line of social capital creation – A natural experiment in symbolic interaction," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 8-18.
    5. 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, pages 197-218.
    6. Peter Siminski & Simon Ville & Alexander Paull, 2013. "Does the Military Train Men to be Violent Criminals? New Evidence from Australia’s Conscription Lotteries," Economics Working Papers wp13-01, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
    7. Peter Siminski & Simon Ville & Alexander Paull, 2013. "Does the Military Train Men to be Violent Criminals? New Evidence from Australia’s Conscription Lotteries," Economics Working Papers wp13-01, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Australia; conscription; ballot; Vietnam War;

    JEL classification:

    • J47 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Coercive Labor Markets
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • N37 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Africa; Oceania
    • N47 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Africa; Oceania
    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War

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