Since the end of the ColdWar, several countries have abolished conscription in favor of an all-volunteer military. However, very little is known about the effectiveness of conscript soldiers compared to volunteers. Denmark is one of the few countries that both recruits conscripts and volunteers to military service, and one of the few countries assigning conscripts through a randomized selection mechanism— a uniquely informative combination. While the deployment to a military mission is voluntary, we use the initial assignment mechanism to estimate causal relationships between recruitment method and a variety of military and post-military deployment outcomes. We find that, while at recruitment conscripts have lower socioeconomic status than volunteers, they are more likely to achieve the rank of officer. We find no difference between conscripts and volunteers in terms of number and length of deployments. Concerning the civilian outcomes of ex-soldiers after military deployment or after leaving the military, while ex-conscripts are less likely to be enrolled on
a study program than ex-volunteers, we find no differences in terms of unemployment, or mortality.
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PublisherVIVE - Det Nationale Forsknings- og Analysecenter for Velfærd