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WEIGHING THE MILITARY OPTION: THE EFFECTS OF WARTIME CONDITIONS ON INVESTMENTS IN HUMAN CAPITAL

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Serving in the military is an important vehicle through which young Americans invest in their human capital. As such, changes in the desirability of military service may affect the attainment of enlistment requirements, such as a high school degree or equivalent. Using American Community Survey data, we find that exposure to home‐state combat fatalities during the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars decreased the probability of high school completion, and increased the probability of general equivalency diploma completion. Using military data, we confirm that exposure to home‐state fatalities selectively deterred some individuals from enlisting. The results suggest military service and educational investments are complements. (JEL I20, I26, J24)
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2019

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