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Long-Term Economic Consequences of Vietnam-Era Conscription: Schooling, Experience and Earnings

Joshua Angrist () and Stacey Chen ()

No 09/02, Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics from Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London

Abstract: Military service reduces the civilian work experience of veterans but subsidizes their college attendance through the GI Bill. Estimates of veteran effects using the Vietnam-era draft-lottery show a post-service earnings impact close to zero in 2000, coupled with a marked increase in college attendance. Viewed through the lens of a Minser wage equation, these results are explained by a flattening of the experimence profile in middle age and a modest return to GI Bill schooling. Consistent with Roy-type selection into college for veterans, IV estimates of the returns to GI Bill-funded schooling are well below OLS estimates. These results are unchanged in more general models that allow for nonlinear returns to schooling and possible effects of military service on health.

Date: 2009-03
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