Occupational Choice, the Draft, and the Excess Supply of Air Force Volunteers.

by Alvin A. Cook

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Develops a model of military enlistment behavior based on the priciples of occupational choice. By observing enlistment decisions, and then relating their variations to variations in the present value of military and civilian earnings, the author derives a supply curve of Air Force volunteers. He then infers parameters of the actual, but not directly observable, supply curve of total volunteers by incorporating into the supply curve variations in the average quality of enlistees to correct for variations in the excess supply of volunteers. The average quality of recruits varies directly with the excess supply. The estimated elasticity of supply, together with the results of other studies, implies that a universal military pay increase will induce more men to volunteer for the Air Force than for the Army. When excess supply exists, estimating the supply curve using observed values of enlistment but excluding a quality adjustment will lead to an underestimation of the true elasticity of supply. 45 pp. Bibliog.

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