Sir! I'd Rather Go to School, Sir!

32 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2016

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2016


Would the fear of conscription entice young men to get more education against their will? This paper uses a discontinuity in the military service law in Iran to answer this question. Iranian males become eligible for military service when they reach 18. But, between 2000 and 2010, sole sons whose fathers' age was over 58, at the time of son's eligibility, were exempted from the service. Sole sons whose fathers' age is a bit below the threshold may stay in school until their father reaches (or passes) 59, in order to get exemption after leaving school. This study shows that, as a result, there is a discontinuity in education levels of sole sons at the father's age of 59. Sole sons whose fathers' age was below the threshold are 13 percentage points (20 percents) more likely to attend college than those whose fathers' age was above it. This exogenous increase is used to estimate returns to college education in Iran.

Keywords: Conscription, Coercive labor market, Natural experiment, Regression discontinuity, Higher-educational attainment

JEL Classification: J31, J47

Suggested Citation

Majbouri, Mahdi, Sir! I'd Rather Go to School, Sir! (2016). Available at SSRN: or

Mahdi Majbouri (Contact Author)

Babson College ( email )

231 Forest St.
Babson Park, MA 02457-0310
United States
781-239-5549 (Phone)
781-239-5239 (Fax)

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