Event-History Analysis of Enlistment in the U.S. Armed Services, 1968 - 1974

Ryan K. Masters, University of Texas at Austin
Oliver P. Fischer, University of Texas at Austin

Using longitudinal data from the National Longitudinal Study of Young Men, this article examines enlistment in the United States Armed Services during the Vietnam Era. This study extends beyond previous research by observing enlistment as a dynamic process involving time-varying covariates that change throughout the early adult life course. Using event-history analysis we investigate the enlistment process, in particular how micro economic conditions and social standing affect a young man’s response to the presence and pressures of the federal draft. This research replicates many findings in the past literature, while at the same time it produces new results. Findings show both a significant and substantial effect of draft pressure on young men’s motivations to enlist, as well as tremendous variance in this effect over the age and wage levels of young men. Furthermore, the results highlight the significant existence of cohort and period effects that varied throughout the “Vietnam Generation.”

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 2: Education, Gender, Religion, Language and Culture