Understanding the Labor Market Returns for Veterans

26 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2019

See all articles by Christos Makridis

Christos Makridis

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Date Written: October 8, 2019

Abstract

This paper investigates the labor market experiences for veterans and their educational investments, both informal and formal. Using a combination of the Current Population Survey (CPS) and American Community Survey (ACS), this paper documents three main results. First, veterans earn 3.5% less than their counterparts even after controlling for demographics and focusing on employees within narrowly defined occupational and industry classifications. Second, veterans are clustered in occupations with lower employment and real earnings growth, as well as cities with lower GDP/capita and GDP/capita growth. Third, while the return to having a license or certification is roughly 8% for the average worker, veterans with credentials earn 1.6% less than their counterparts except for in computer science, engineering, and math occupations where they earn a 5% premium. The results suggest that current educational investments and resources for helping veterans transition back into civilian life are inadequate.

Keywords: earnings premium, polarization, veterans

JEL Classification: J21, J23, J24, J31

Suggested Citation

Makridis, Christos, Understanding the Labor Market Returns for Veterans (October 8, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3466518 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3466518

Christos Makridis (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

100 Main Street
E62-416
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

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