Explaining the worldwide decline in the length of mandatory military service, 1970–2010
- 749 Downloads
Compulsory military service has declined considerably since 1970. This explained by changes on both the extensive and intensive margins by governments. While the decision to use conscription for military purposes has been studied extensively, in this paper we examine empirically the factors underlying the decline in the duration of military service obligations. Employing data from the Economic Freedom of the World index observed at 5-year intervals from 1970 to 2010, we find that the probability of a shorter military service time is positively associated with smaller country populations, smaller lagged army sizes, increases in primary schooling among young males, and having common law legal origins. Our empirical approach also highlights how the elderly population exhibits a nonlinear relationship with the length of conscriptees’ time in uniform.
KeywordsConscription Economic freedom Ordered probit All volunteer force
JEL ClassificationD72 H56
The authors would like to thank Adam Nowak for helpful comments and suggestions as well as attendees at the 2014 APEE, Public Choice, and WVU CFE Brown Bag. Part of this research was conducted while Hall was a Big XII Fellow with the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University. Hall and Tarabar would like to acknowledge the Center for Free Enterprise at West Virginia University for general research support.
- Asal, V., Conrad, J., and Toronto, N. (2015). I want you! The determinants of military conscription. Journal of Conflict Resolution. http://jcr.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/09/23/0022002715606217.full.
- Bohanon, C. E., Horowitz, J. B., & McClure, J. E. (2014). Saying too little, too late: Public finance textbooks and the excess burdens of taxation. Econ Journal Watch, 11(3), 277–296.Google Scholar
- Borcherding, T. E. (1971). A neglected social cost of a voluntary military. American Economic Review, 61(1), 195–196.Google Scholar
- Coyne, C. J. (2008). After war: The political economy of exporting democracy. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Fisher, A. C. (1969). The cost of the draft and the cost of ending the draft. American Economic Review, 59(3), 239–254.Google Scholar
- Friedman, M. (1967). Why not a volunteer army? New Individualist Review, 4(4), 3–6.Google Scholar
- Gwartney, J. (2009). Institutions, economic freedom, and cross-country differences in performance. Southern Economic Journal, 75(4), 937–956.Google Scholar
- Gwartney, J., Lawson, R., & Hall, J. (2015). Economic freedom of the world: 2015 annual report. vancouver: Fraser Institute.Google Scholar
- Henderson, D. R. (2005). The role of economists in ending the draft. Econ Journal Watch, 2(2), 362–376.Google Scholar
- Henderson, D. R. (2010). From “porous” to “ruthless” conscription, 1776–1917. Independent Review, 14(4), 587–598.Google Scholar
- International Institute for Strategic Studies. (2013). The military balance 2013. London: International Institute for Strategic Studies.Google Scholar
- Marshall, M. G. (2015). Major episodes of political violence (mepv) and conflict regions, 1946–2014. Vienna, VA: Center for Systemic Peace.Google Scholar
- Marshall, M., Gurr, T., & Jaggers, K. (2013). Polity IV Project: Political regime characteristics and transitions, 1800–2012. Vienna, VA: Center for Systematic Peace.Google Scholar
- Ng, Y.-K., et al. (2008). Why is the military draft common? Conscription and increasing returns. Annals of Economics and Finance, 9(2), 373–384.Google Scholar
- Oi, W. Y. (1967). The economic cost of the draft. American Economic Review, 57(2), 39–62.Google Scholar
- Perri, T. J. (2013). The evolution of military conscription in the United States. Independent Review, 17(3), 429–439.Google Scholar
- Poutvaara, P., & Wagener, A. (2011). The political economy of conscription. In C. Coyne & R. Mathers (Eds.), The handbook on the political economy of war (pp. 154–174). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
- War Resisters International. (2005). World survey of conscription and conscientious objection to military service. Cape Town: War Resisters International.Google Scholar