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American Economic Review: Vol. 101 No. 3 (May 2011)

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Battle Scars? The Puzzling Decline in Employment and Rise in Disability Receipt among Vietnam Era Veterans

Article Citation

Autor, David H., Mark G. Duggan, and David S. Lyle. 2011. "Battle Scars? The Puzzling Decline in Employment and Rise in Disability Receipt among Vietnam Era Veterans." American Economic Review, 101(3): 339-44.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.101.3.339

Abstract

Using Current Population Survey and US Army administrative data, we document that between 2000 and 2010, the employment rate of Vietnam era veterans fell markedly relative to non-veterans of the same cohorts while simultaneously their enrollment increased steeply in the Veterans Disability Compensation (DC) program, which provides healthcare and transfer payments to veterans with service-connected disabilities. Thirty percent of Vietnam era Army veterans enrolled in DC in 2006 received benefits for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, with median annual payments of $25,500. The declining employment and rising transfer payments to Vietnam era veterans underscore the long-term private and public costs of wartime service, potentially stemming from both adverse health consequences and policies that have expanded benefits eligibility.

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Authors

Autor, David H. (MIT)
Duggan, Mark G. (U MD)
Lyle, David S. (US Military Academy, West Point)

JEL Classifications

H23: Taxation and Subsidies: Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
I12: Health Production
I18: Health: Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
J14: Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-labor Market Discrimination
J45: Public Sector Labor Markets


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