Military service as a determinant of post-service earnings
Chamarett, Stephen Garnet
Thomas, George W.
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The relationship between military service and post-service earnings was analyzed using the 1976 data of the National Longitudinal Survey of Young Men (14 to 24 years of age in 1966). The sample was broken down by race and veteran status. When earning attributes were examined it was found black veterans on average were socio-economically better off than black non-veterans, while the reverse was true for whites. This era, which included draftees, lottery selectees, and volunteers, failed to produce a military which was representative of society. The post-service earnings analysis indicates that the effect of military service on subsequent civilian income was negative. This was particularly true for those veterans who failed to use the military's in-service or post-service opportunities to further their general level of education or undertake vocational training. In sum, a term in the military has a more positive earnings effect than civilian unemployment, but a more negative earnings effect than civilian employment. A major recommendation is that programs withdrawing members from the civilian sector for extended periods need to compensate adequately those members either during or after service.
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