Advanced

The Opportunity Costs of Mandatory Military Service : Evidence from a Draft Lottery

Bingley, Paul ; Lundborg, Petter LU and Lyk-Jensen, Stéphanie V. (2020) In Journal of Labor Economics 38(1). p.39-66
Abstract
Conscription forces young men to serve in the military, irrespective of their opportunity costs. Using random assignment in the Danish draft lottery, we find a negative average effect of peacetime military service on earnings, an effect varying by ability, with high-ability men facing a $23,000 lifetime earnings penalty but with low-ability men facing none. This gradient is robust to different measures of labor market prospects. Educational disruption is an important mechanism, while service has little effect on health or criminal activity. The opportunity costs of conscription are borne by men with the best labor market prospects.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Journal of Labor Economics
volume
38
issue
1
pages
28 pages
publisher
University of Chicago Press
external identifiers
  • scopus:85074860366
ISSN
1537-5307
DOI
10.1086/704495
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
81745921-934c-44f1-a3b6-f1b4570e8bd7
date added to LUP
2018-05-15 09:07:56
date last changed
2020-01-14 09:50:39
@article{81745921-934c-44f1-a3b6-f1b4570e8bd7,
  abstract     = {Conscription forces young men to serve in the military, irrespective of their opportunity costs. Using random assignment in the Danish draft lottery, we find a negative average effect of peacetime military service on earnings, an effect varying by ability, with high-ability men facing a $23,000 lifetime earnings penalty but with low-ability men facing none. This gradient is robust to different measures of labor market prospects. Educational disruption is an important mechanism, while service has little effect on health or criminal activity. The opportunity costs of conscription are borne by men with the best labor market prospects.},
  author       = {Bingley, Paul and Lundborg, Petter and Lyk-Jensen, Stéphanie V.},
  issn         = {1537-5307},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {39--66},
  publisher    = {University of Chicago Press},
  series       = {Journal of Labor Economics},
  title        = {The Opportunity Costs of Mandatory Military Service : Evidence from a Draft Lottery},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/704495},
  doi          = {10.1086/704495},
  volume       = {38},
  year         = {2020},
}