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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.