Ilyana Kuziemko

Did the Vietnam Draft Increase Human Capital Dispersion? Draft-Avoidance Behavior by Race and Class

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Abstract:
Past research has documented draft-induced college enrollment during the Vietnam era, but the draft also incentivized men with no hope of attending college to disinvent in traditional forms of human capital (e.g., engage in criminal activity) so as to appear unfit for service. Using individual-level panel data, I find that receiving a "bad" draft lottery number increases college attendance the following year among whites, but it decreases college attendance while increasing self-reported delinquent activity among black and low-income men. Moreover, men with bad numbers are over-represented in state administrative criminal justice records from the early 1970s. These results suggest that the Vietnam draft may have been an important factor behind the rapid rise in crime rates among young men beginning in the mid-1960s.

Exact Citation:
Kuziemko, Ilyana. "Did the Vietnam Draft Increase Human Capital Dispersion? Draft-Avoidance Behavior by Race and Class." Princeton University, January 2010.
Date: 1 2010