The Design, Administration, and Evaluation of the 1978 Selected Reserve Reenlistment Bonus Test

by David W. Grissmer, Zahava D. Doering, J. Sachar

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Describes the results of a national experiment designed to study factors that influence reenlistment decisions of Army Reserve and National Guard personnel. Some 15,300 reservists making reenlistment decisions in 1978 participated in the experiment. The effect of bonuses given for three-year terms ($900) or six-year terms ($1,800) on reenlistment rates and length of commitment was estimated by comparing the responses of the group offered the bonus with those of a matching control group. While the bonus raised reenlistment rates only from 38.4 to 40.6 percent, it lengthened the average committed term of service from 1.3 to 4.4 years. Longitudinal tracking of test participants indicates that a significant strength gain will result from the longer term of service commitments. Two years after the test began, 37.3 percent of the original bonus group remained in service, while only 30.4 percent of the control group remained.

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