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Employment Effects of Army Service and Veterans’ Compensation: Evidence from the Australian Vietnam-Era Conscription Lotteries

By Peter Siminski

Abstract

Exploiting the Australian National Service lotteries of 1965-72, I estimate the effect of Army service on employment outcomes. Population data from military personnel records, tax returns, veterans’ compensation records and the Census facilitate a rich and precise analysis, identified by 53,000 compliers. The employment effect is confined to men who served in Vietnam and is very large, at -37 percentage points (95%CI: -32, -43) in 2006. The effect has emerged gradually since the 1990s, and is mirrored by veterans’ Disability Pension effects. These results contrast with those for the USA, possibly reflecting differences in employment incentives associated with veterans’ compensation.Vietnam veterans; employment; natural experiment; Australia; conscription

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