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American Economic Journal: Applied Economics: Vol. 4 No. 4 (October 2012)

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Can Compulsory Military Service Raise Civilian Wages? Evidence from the Peacetime Draft in Portugal

Article Citation

Card, David, and Ana Rute Cardoso. 2012. "Can Compulsory Military Service Raise Civilian Wages? Evidence from the Peacetime Draft in Portugal." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 4(4): 57-93.

DOI: 10.1257/app.4.4.57

Abstract

We provide new evidence on the long-term impacts of peacetime conscription, using longitudinal data for Portuguese men born in 1967. These men were inducted at age 21, allowing us to use preconscription wages to control for ability differences between conscripts and nonconscripts. We find a significant 4-5 percentage point impact of service on the wages of men with only primary education, coupled with a zero effect for men with higher education. The effect for less-educated men suggests that mandatory service can be a valuable experience for those who might otherwise spend their careers in low-level jobs. (JEL J24, J31, J45)

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Authors

Card, David (U CA, Berkeley)
Cardoso, Ana Rute (Barcelona GSE)

JEL Classifications

J24: Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
J31: Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
J45: Public Sector Labor Markets

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American Economic Journal: Applied Economics


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