Un-Fortunate Sons: Effects of the Vietnam Draft Lottery on the Next Generation'S Labor Market

FEDS Working Paper No. 2015-119

https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2015.119r1

70 Pages Posted: 31 Dec 2015 Last revised: 29 Mar 2017

See all articles by Sarena Goodman

Sarena Goodman

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Adam Isen

U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Tax Analysis (OTA)

Date Written: December, 2015

Abstract

Can shocks to one generation propagate to the next? To answer this question, we study how the Vietnam draft lottery affected the next generation's labor market. Using the universe of federal tax returns, we link fathers from draft cohorts to their sons' outcomes and find that sons of fathers randomly called by the draft 1) have lower earnings and labor force participation than their peers, and 2) are more likely to volunteer for military service. These findings highlight the strong role family plays in human capital development and occupational choice. More generally, our results provide sound evidence that malleable aspects of a parent's life course can influence children's labor market outcomes and that policies that only directly alter the circumstances of one generation can have important long-run effects on the next.

JEL Classification: H56, J24, J62

Suggested Citation

Goodman, Sarena and Isen, Adam, Un-Fortunate Sons: Effects of the Vietnam Draft Lottery on the Next Generation'S Labor Market (December, 2015). FEDS Working Paper No. 2015-119, https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2015.119r1, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2709572 or http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2015.119r1

Sarena Goodman (Contact Author)

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

Adam Isen

U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Tax Analysis (OTA) ( email )

1500 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 22203
United States

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