NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Military Positions and Post-Service Occupational Mobility of Union Army Veterans, 1861-1880

Chulhee Lee

NBER Working Paper No. 12416
Issued in August 2006
NBER Program(s):   DAE   LS

Although the Civil War has attracted a great deal of scholarly attention, little is known about how different wartime experiences of soldiers influenced their civilian lives after the war. This paper examines how military rank and duty of Union Army soldiers while in service affected their post-service occupational mobility. Higher ranks and non-infantry duties appear to have provided more opportunities for developing skills, especially those required for white-collar jobs. Among the recruits who were unskilled workers at the time of enlistment, commissioned and non-commissioned officers were much more likely to move up to a white-collar job by 1880. Similarly, unskilled recruits who had served on white-collar military duties were more likely to enter a white-collar occupation by 1880. The higher occupational mobility of higher-ranking soldiers is likely to have resulted from disparate human capital accumulations offered by their military positions rather than from their superior abilities.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12416

Published: Lee, Chulhee, 2007. "Military positions and post-service occupational mobility of Union Army veterans, 1861-1880," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 680-698, October.

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