The Quality Dimension in Army Retention
NBER Working Paper No. 3337
While there has been a great deal of research on the characteristics of those who enter the U.S. Armed Forces, there has been little work which asks whether those who re-enlist are those who were above- or below-average performers. Despite the relatively "egalitarian" (little pay for performance) structure of military compensation, I find that those who do better on tests of proficiency in their military occupation are more likely to re-enlist than those who do worse, and this difference is not primarily due to the Army's unwillingness to allow its worse performers to re-enlist. In contrast, those with the best scores on the general ability test given prior to enlistment are less likely to re-enlist.
Published: Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Volume 33, 1990.