The Effect of Vietnam-Era Conscription and Genetic Potential for Educational Attainment on Schooling Outcomes

37 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2016 Last revised: 16 May 2021

See all articles by Lauren Schmitz

Lauren Schmitz

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Institute for Social Research

Dalton Conley

New York University (NYU) - Department of Sociology; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: July 2016

Abstract

This study examines whether draft-lottery estimates of the causal effect of Vietnam-era military service on schooling vary by genetic propensity toward educational attainment. To capture the complex genetic architecture that underlies the bio-developmental pathways behavioral traits and evoked environments associated with educational attainment, we construct a polygenic score (PGS) for the Vietnam-era cohort in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) that aggregates thousands of individual loci across the human genome, weighted by effect sizes derived from a recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) for years of education. Our findings suggest veterans with below average PGSs for educational attainment completed fewer years of schooling than comparable non-veterans with the same PGS, primarily due to fewer years of college education. On the other hand, we do not find any difference in the educational attainment of veterans and non-veterans with above average PGSs. Results show that public policies and exogenous environments may induce heterogeneous treatment effects by genetic disposition.

Suggested Citation

Schmitz, Lauren and Conley, Dalton, The Effect of Vietnam-Era Conscription and Genetic Potential for Educational Attainment on Schooling Outcomes (July 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22393, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2807704

Lauren Schmitz (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Institute for Social Research ( email )

426 Thompson St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.laurenlschmitz.com

Dalton Conley

New York University (NYU) - Department of Sociology ( email )

New York, NY 10012
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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