Dodging a Draft: Gary Becker's Lost Paper on Conscription

16 Pages Posted: 11 May 2020 Last revised: 12 May 2020

See all articles by Michael Gibbs

Michael Gibbs

University of Chicago Booth School of Business; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Timothy Perri

Appalachian State University

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Date Written: May 11, 2020

Abstract

Gary Becker wrote what may be the first economic analysis of conscription. Less than a decade later, economists played a key role in an important public policy debate during the Vietnam War, which eventually led to abolishment of the military draft. Becker had connections to many of those economists who studied the economics of conscription, and his paper foreshadowed many of the ideas in that literature. Despite this, none cited his paper on conscription. We discuss this history and speculate on this puzzle.

Suggested Citation

Gibbs, Michael and Perri, Timothy, Dodging a Draft: Gary Becker's Lost Paper on Conscription (May 11, 2020). Chicago Booth Research Paper No. 20-09, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3598191 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3598191

Michael Gibbs (Contact Author)

University of Chicago Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Timothy Perri

Appalachian State University ( email )

Boone, NC 28608
United States

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