Military Service and Later Labor Force Outcomes: A Life Course Approach

Coady Wing, Syracuse University
Douglas A. Wolf, Syracuse University
Andrew S. London, Syracuse University
Janet Wilmoth, Syracuse University

In this paper, we study the labor market outcomes of veterans and nonveterans from birth cohorts that span a broad and continuous range of historical periods. We combine data from the 1978 through 1996 National Health Interview Surveys to construct synthetic panels of veterans and nonveterans for the cohorts born in each year from 1931 to 1971. Then we employ an instrumental variables (IV) approach to estimate the effects of military service on a range of labor market outcomes using measures of the economic incentives and constraints faced at age 18 in each cohort as instruments for military service. We find that military service has a deleterious effect on labor market outcomes later in life.

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Presented in Session 118: Military Service, Work and the Life Course