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The veteran wage differential

Francesco Renna and Amanda Weinstein

Applied Economics, 2019, vol. 51, issue 12, 1284-1302

Abstract: There is debate in the literature as to whether military service is rewarded in the economy and the extent to which veterans receive either a wage premium or penalty. In this paper, we take a new approach to this question by conducting a wage decomposition of the veteran wage differential and decomposing the wage distribution of veterans and civilians instead of focusing only on the standard wage gap analysis at the averages. We find the veteran wage differential is driven by observable factors such as education, occupation, and industry, but also by location choice, a factor that has been previously overlooked in the literature. At the average, we find white men experience a veteran penalty whereas black men and women experience a veteran premium consistent with the bridging hypothesis. Additionally, we find that as we move along the wage distribution for all demographic groups, the veteran premium tends to become a veteran penalty, even after accounting for selection into military service. However, once we account for selection, we find that the premium for veteran black men disappears.

Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2018.1527445

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