NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The War at Home: Effects of Vietnam-Era Military Service on Post-War Household Stability

Dalton Conley, Jennifer Heerwig

NBER Working Paper No. 16671
Issued in January 2011
NBER Program(s):      CH   LS   PE

Prior researchers have deployed the Vietnam-era draft lottery as an instrument to estimate causal effects of military service on health and income. This research has shown that effects of veteran status on mortality and earnings that appeared shortly after the war seem to have dissipated by 2000. While these are important outcomes to economists, by focusing on them, researchers may be neglecting an area of life that could be more sensitive to the psychological effects of military service: household and family life. In the present study we use the same IV approach to model the causal impact of Vietnam- era military service on four novel outcomes: residential stability, marital stability, housing tenure and extended family living arrangements. In analysis of the 2000 U.S. Census and the 2005 American Community Survey, we find that veteran status has no effect on housing tenure or residential stability. However, in the ACS sample, being a veteran appears to lower the likelihood of marital disruption, and results for extended family living arrangements appear to change signs across the two samples. Meanwhile, results tend to be strongest for whites.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16671

Published: Conley, D. and J. Heerwig. 2011. “The War at Ho me: Effects of Vietnam-Era Military Service on Postwar Household Stability.” : 350–American Economic Review (Papers and Proceedings) . 101: 350-54.

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