The 1978 Selected Reserve Reenlistment Bonus Test

Executive Summary

by David W. Grissmer, Burke K. Burright, Zahava D. Doering, J. Sachar


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Summarizes two forthcoming RAND reports evaluating the Congressionally mandated 1978 Selected Reserve Reenlistment Bonus Test. The test sought to determine the factors that influence reenlistment decisions of Army Reserve and National Guard personnel. The test consisted of offering a bonus to 15,000 nonprior service reservists with less than eight years of service who faced a reenlistment decision in 1978. The RAND Corporation helped to design the test, monitored its implementation in the Army Reserve and National Guard, and evaluated the effects of the bonus offer. The effect of bonus payments of up to $1,800 on reenlistment rates and length of commitment was estimated by comparing the response of a test group offered the bonus to a matched control group. While the bonus raised reenlistment rates only from 38 to 40 percent, it significantly lengthened the average committed term of service from 1.3 to 4.3 years.

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