Do Guns Displace Books? The Impact of Compulsory Military Service on Educational Attainment

22 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2011

See all articles by Thomas K. Bauer

Thomas K. Bauer

Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen); University of Bochum - Faculty of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Stefan Bender

Government of the Federal Republic of Germany - Institute for Employment Research (IAB)

Alfredo R. Paloyo

Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen); Ruhr University of Bochum; University of Wollongong

Christoph M. Schmidt

RWI - Leibniz-Insitut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI Essen); Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Abstract

Compulsory military service typically drafts young men when they are at the height of their learning ability. Thus, it can be expected to depress the demand for higher education since skill atrophy and the delayed entry into the civilian labor market reduce the returns to human-capital investments. Attending university, however, might open the possibility to avoid the draft, leading to an increase in the demand for tertiary education. To estimate the causal effect of conscription on the probability to obtain a university degree, we use a regression-discontinuity design that employs special regulations associated with the introduction of conscription in Germany in 1956. We estimate conscription to increase the probability of having a university degree.

Keywords: career interruption, conscription, regression discontinuity, skill atrophy, TS2SLS

JEL Classification: I28, J24

Suggested Citation

Bauer, Thomas K. and Bender, Stefan and Paloyo, Alfredo R. and Schmidt, Christoph M., Do Guns Displace Books? The Impact of Compulsory Military Service on Educational Attainment. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5744, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1863066

Thomas K. Bauer (Contact Author)

Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen) ( email )

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Stefan Bender

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Alfredo R. Paloyo

Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI-Essen) ( email )

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Ruhr University of Bochum ( email )

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Christoph M. Schmidt

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