Archives for military



Behind the Iron Dome

Absolutely fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal, by Charles Levinson and Adam Entous, about Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile-defense shield. Nothing I can excerpt here will do justice to the article; it reads like a cross between an HBR case study and a Tom Clancy novel. Perhaps not so surprising from a startup nation. Meanwhile, there are unintended consequences of having built such strong aerial defense; see this one in particular.



Does Military Service Increase Future Wages?

In this month’s American Economic Journal, David Card and Ana Rute Cardoso explore the relationship between military service and future wages (abstract; PDF): 

We provide new evidence on the long-term impacts of peacetime conscription, using longitudinal data for Portuguese men born in 1967. These men were inducted at age 21, allowing us to use preconscription wages to control for ability differences between conscripts and nonconscripts. We find a significant 4-5 percentage point impact of service on the wages of men with only primary education, coupled with a zero effect for men with higher education. The effect for less-educated men suggests that mandatory service can be a valuable experience for those who might otherwise spend their careers in low-level jobs.



America: Training Ground for Dictators?

Foreign Policy examines America’s role as a training ground for those who would plot coups around the world.  For example, Yahya Jammeh, current president of the Gambia, reportedly attended a military police training course in the U.S. prior to his 1994 bloodless coup:

Jammeh promised that his would be a “coup with a difference” and that he would stand down “as soon as we have set things right.” Eighteen years later, he is still in power.

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Does Military Service Lead to Crime?

A new working paper (ungated version) by Jason M. Lindo and Charles F. Stoecker examines the link between military service (in Vietnam) and crime. It has some bad news: “We find that military service increases the probability of incarceration for violent crimes among whites, with point estimates suggesting an impact of 0.27 percentage points.”  The authors also find offsetting impacts on nonviolent crime and hypothesize that “military service may not change an individual’s propensity to commit crime but instead may cause them to commit more-severe crimes involving violence.” Read More »



New Statistics About American Veterans

Sure, serving in the military long-term will likely make you a decent living, but what about the other effects military service has on veterans today? A new research paper from the Pew Research Center takes a look at the attitude of and challenges to American veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A total of 1,853 veterans were surveyed, and the poll shows some surprising things. Read More »



Enlisting in the Military Increases Earnings, But Only If You Stick Around

A new RAND research report prepared for the U.S. Army explores the effect of military enlistment on individual earnings and the labor market. The authors used data from applicants to “active-component enlisted service” from 1989 through 2003, and followed them for up to 18 years. From the report:

The authors find that military enlistment increases earnings in both the short and long-term: The percentage increase in earnings attributable to enlistment is about 40 percent in the first few years following application and diminishes to about 11 percent 14–18 years following application. Enlistment significantly delays college education in the short run. In the longer run, enlistment slightly increases the likelihood of attaining a two-year college degree, but it also decreases the likelihood of attaining a four-year college degree, especially among higher-aptitude youth.

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Coase Goes to War

A “Smart Bribe” can be a lot cheaper than a “Smart Bomb.” Read More »



When Is “Undersight” Unconstitutional?

If oversight is when a superior has the right to disapprove of an underling’s decision, what is “undersight”?

It’s my term for when an underling has the right to disapprove of a superior’s decision. It’s not surprising to see principal-agent contracts with oversight provisions, but in two recent statutes the lame duck Congress has arguably imposed undersight provisions on the President acting as our commander-in-chief. Read More »