The effect of Graduate Education on the retention and promotion of Marine Corps Officers
Branigan, Gregory A.
Mehay, Stephen L.
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This thesis analyzes the factors associated with retention to the 0-5 promotion point and selection for promotion to 0-5. In particular, this thesis focuses on the economic returns to graduate education and specifically Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) education. In theory, the payoff to the Marine Corps is the increased productivity of the officer with a graduate degree. This thesis analyzes the differences in retention and promotion rates between officers with and without graduate degrees. Data from the FY1998 through FY2001 lieutenant colonel promotion boards and data for the corresponding accession cohorts, who entered the Marine Corps between FY1980 and FY1984 are merged with Automated Fitness Report System (AFRS) data. Nonparametric analysis and simple Probit techniques are used to estimate retention and promotion models. The results suggest that, in addition to other factors, graduate degrees from NPS and from sources other than NPS both have a positive effect on the retention and promotion of Marine officers. Several statistical techniques are applied to correct for potential biases due to self selection and sample selection. However, results from these techniques prove sensitive to slight changes in model specification and therefore, are not conclusive.
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