Where Did All the Soldiers Go? Assessing the Effects of Military Downsizing on Employment and Enrollment of Young Men

Meredith A. Kleykamp, Princeton University

Numerous studies have considered how labor market conditions and educational opportunities influence military enlistment and retention, but few have examined the reverse question of how the military influences the youth labor market or college enrollments. This paper examines the effects of changes in the size of the military on macroeconomic and macrosocial outcomes, showing how changes in military personnel policy affect the supply of youth available to the labor market and institutions of higher education. Specifically, I examine the consequences of changing military force size on employment and school enrollment rates among men. I employ pooled-cross sectional time series data on the civilian and military male population, covering the period 1973-2000. Using an instrumental variables approach and several fixed-effects model specifications, I conclude that rather than operating outside the labor market or educational system, the military is a key component of both labor market dynamics and trends in college enrollment.

Presented in Poster Session 4: Migration, Income, Employment, Neighborhoods and Residential Context