The Effect of Compulsory Service on Life Satisfaction and Its Channels

IAB-Discussion Paper 24/2018

35 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2019

See all articles by Matthias Collischon

Matthias Collischon

FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg

Andreas Eberl

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

Kerstin Jahn

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

Date Written: December 18, 2018

Abstract

Compulsory military service is still a prominent feature of young people’s careers in many countries. We use the abolition of compulsory military and civil service for males in 2011 in Germany as a natural experiment to identify effects of institutionalized career disruptions on life satisfaction. Drawing on data from the SOEP, we apply a difference-in-differences design (comparing young males and females) to assess the causal effect of this reform on individual life satisfaction. Our results show a significant and robust positive effect of the abolition of compulsory service on young males’ life satisfaction. Furthermore, we provide empirical evidence that reductions in career disruptions, forgone earnings, uncertainty regarding the future, and forced labor contribute to this effect.

Keywords: policy evaluation, military service, happiness, well-being, life satisfaction

JEL Classification: I31, I38, J18

Suggested Citation

Collischon, Matthias and Eberl, Andreas and Jahn, Kerstin, The Effect of Compulsory Service on Life Satisfaction and Its Channels (December 18, 2018). IAB-Discussion Paper 24/2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3303832 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3303832

Matthias Collischon (Contact Author)

FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg ( email )

Schloßplatz 4
Erlangen, Bavaria 91054
Germany

Andreas Eberl

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

Regensburger Str. 104
Nuremberg, 90478
Germany

Kerstin Jahn

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

Regensburger Str. 104
Nuremberg, 90478
Germany

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