Congressional Briefing - November 9, 2009

The Impact of Deployment on the Post-Deployment Labor Market Earnings of Reserve Components

U.S. Army reservists taking re-enlistment oath, photo courtesy of U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. M. Alices


David Loughran


Monday, November 9, 2009


1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.


Room 201 SVC Capitol Visitor Center
Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.

View the Video
Listen to the Audio

About the Program

Since September 11, 2001, hundreds of thousands of reservists have returned home from lengthy deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. These reservists face a variety of challenges in reintegrating themselves into civilian life, not the least of which is reentering the civilian labor market. Although the civilian employment of most reservists is protected under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), reservists nonetheless might suffer economic hardship in their post-deployment years because of lost civilian work experience, injury, and other difficulties adjusting to civilian work life.

This study, conducted at the request of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, employs high-quality administrative data to investigate whether deployment adversely affects the labor market earnings of reservists. The study finds the following:

  • Deployment lowers the civilian earnings of reservists by about 5 percent in the first year after deployment.
  • However, two years after deployment, the civilian earnings of reservists recover and, in many cases, exceed the civilian earnings they would have received had they never been deployed.
  • Deployed reservists are more likely to remain in the reserves, causing their post-deployment military earnings to exceed those of reservists who were never deployed.

These findings will be of interest to policymakers, manpower analysts, and other individuals concerned about the effects of deployment on the civilian lives of reservists and their families.

This work was conducted by the Forces and Resources Policy Center within the RAND National Defense Research Institute.

About the Speaker

David Loughran, a senior economist at the RAND Corporation, is associate director of RAND Labor and Population and professor of economics at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His research focuses on applied topics in labor economics, demography, and insurance. His current defense manpower-related research includes analyses of the causal effect of military service on the educational and labor market outcomes of socioeconomically disadvantaged youth, the effect of alternative body fat standards on recruiting and attrition, and a suite of studies addressing the effect of deployments on the civilian labor market outcomes of reservists while they serve and following their return to civilian life. Loughran holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Maryland.

RAND Office of Congressional Relations

For 60 years, RAND has provided policymakers with independent, objective research and analysis on key national security, domestic and international issues. RAND work helps members of Congress and their staffs make better-informed decisions on the nation's pressing challenges. The Office of Congressional Relations offers a number of products and services to educate, inform, and facilitate congressional policymakers' access to RAND work, including coordinating congressional testimony by RAND experts, organizing briefings and meetings, synthesizing RAND work into topical e-newsletters and providing reports and publications to congressional offices. For more information, visit the Office of Congressional Relations webpage, contact or call (703) 413-1100, ext. 5395.

Further Inquiries

For further information about this event, contact the Office of Congressional Relations at or call (703) 413-1100, ext. 5395.