Essays on military service, employment, and education

Clifford D Goss, Fordham University


This dissertation investigates relationships between military service, civilian employment, and educational attainment from 2001 through 2012. Chapter One presents the results of a replication of Ellwood and Wise's (1987) seminal study which found that during periods of recession, higher quality recruits (i.e. high school educated) enlist in the military at higher rates than lower quality recruits, thus causing an enlistment demand constraint on the lower quality recruits. The replication used data from a recent time period and the results suggest that an enhanced model is warranted. Chapter Two elaborates on the replication by enhancing the model in three ways. First, the model changes its focus to the relationship between high school and college degree holders. Second, the model incorporates relative relationships (i.e. relative unemployment, relative wages). Finally, the model is estimated at granular geographical level. Results suggest that in regions of the country that exhibit a combination of high enlistee contribution rates and high college degree holder percentages, higher quality recruits enlist more during economic contraction. Moreover, it is found that state unemployment duration may affect a civilian's decision to enlist in the military and that passage of newest GI Bill did not generate immediate changes in enlistment behavior. Chapter Three examines transitions out of the military and into the labor market, and how educational attainment and other factors may affect these transitions. Using logit regression, it was found that veterans with some college, or more, have lower odds of being unemployed or out of the labor force than peers with a high school degree or less, immediately after transitioning out of the military. However, this effect of educational attainment did not hold for a subsample of individuals for whom changes in disability status were observed. Overall, it was concluded that individuals with higher levels of educational attainment enjoy employment benefits by means of increased enlistment opportunities during periods of economic contraction. Further research is needed on the role of education in shaping transitions out of the military and into the civilian labor market.

Subject Area

Labor economics|Military studies

Recommended Citation

Goss, Clifford D, "Essays on military service, employment, and education" (2013). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3611860.