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Conscription and the Returns to Education: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity

49 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2014 Last revised: 15 Apr 2015

Pierre Mouganie

Texas A&M University - Department of Economics

Date Written: February 2015

Abstract

In 1997, the French government put into effect a law that permanently exempted young French male citizens born after Jan 1, 1979 from mandatory military service while still requiring those born before that cutoff date to serve. This paper uses a regression discontinuity design to identify the effect of peacetime conscription on education and labor market outcomes. Results indicate that conscription eligibility induces a significant increase in years of education, which is consistent with conscription avoidance behavior. However, this increased education does not result in either an increase in graduation rates, or in employment and wages. Additional evidence shows conscription has no direct effect on earnings, suggesting that the returns to education induced by this policy was zero.

Keywords: Regression Discontinuity Design, Returns to Education, France, Conscription, Signaling

JEL Classification: I20, J24, J30

Suggested Citation

Mouganie, Pierre, Conscription and the Returns to Education: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity (February 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2494651 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2494651

Pierre Mouganie (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University - Department of Economics ( email )

5201 University Blvd.
College Station, TX 77843-4228
United States

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