American Economic Review: Vol. 102 No. 3 (May 2012)


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Birth Rates and the Vietnam Draft

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Bitler, Marianne P., and Lucie Schmidt. 2012. "Birth Rates and the Vietnam Draft." American Economic Review, 102(3): 566-69.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.102.3.566


The Vietnam conflict was the defining event for a generation, with nearly 8 million Americans serving in the armed forces. A large literature in economics has focused on effects of Vietnam-Era service post-war, while little research looks at contemporaneous effects of the mobilization, despite the potential for this mobilization to change marriage markets for particular cohorts. We use exogenous variation across states and over time in men drafted per 100 men 19-25 to look at the effects of the wartime mobilization on birth rates. We find robust evidence that higher rates of inducted men led to significantly lower birth rates.

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Bitler, Marianne P. (U CA, Irvine)
Schmidt, Lucie (Williams College)

JEL Classifications

J13: Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
J11: Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts

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