Using AFQT to test for gender differences in services
Gaster, John C, III
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This study looks at gender differences in loss and promotion across services and over time using individual data from the Defense Manpower Data Center for two cohorts of enlisted military personnel that began their service in 2005 and in 2010. The primary research questions are as follows: Are there differences by gender in loss and promotion, and are the differences heterogeneous by service? Second, using the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) as a proxy for ability, are there heterogeneous gender differences by ability in loss. I find that females leave the service at a higher rate than males in both their first term and overall, with the highest female loss being seen in the Army and Marine Corps. While the FY2010 cohort had higher first-term female loss than did the FY2005 cohort, a female’s propensity to leave was lower, meaning that while more females were leaving the armed forces overall, the likelihood of a female leaving over a male was smaller in the FY2010 cohort. Using the AFQT as a proxy for ability, higher-quality females in the FY2010 cohort are more likely to leave the Navy and the Army. Results also show that females promote at a slower rate than males do across all services until the higher paygrades and later years.
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