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The "misnorming" of the U.S. military entrance examination and its effect on minority enlistments


  • J. D. Angrist


The score a prospective recruit must earn on the military's entrance examination was raised in 1980 in response to an error discovered in the score scale previously used. Raising this score led to a reduction in enlistments, especially among minorities. Recent plans to reduce the military have also had an adverse impact on service opportunities for minority applicants. This paper considers empirical and theoretical aspects of the relationship between entrance standards and minority representation in the military, focusing on racial differences in the proportion of qualified applicants who enlist. The results suggest that increases in test score standards have a large impact on minority enlistment not only because minorities have lower scores, but also because qualified minority applicants are far more likely than other qualified applicants to enlist.

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  • J. D. Angrist, "undated". "The "misnorming" of the U.S. military entrance examination and its effect on minority enlistments," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1017-93, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:wispod:1017-93

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dale, Charles & Gilroy, Curtis, 1985. "Enlistments in the All-Volunteer Force: Note," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 547-551, June.
    2. 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 313-336, June.
    3. Mark C. Berger & Barry T. Hirsch, 1983. "The Civilian Earnings Experience of Vietnam - Era Veterans," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(4), pages 455-479.
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    Cited by:

    1. David H. Autor & David Scarborough, 2004. "Will Job Testing Harm Minority Workers?," NBER Working Papers 10763, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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