Recruiter Incentives and Enlistment Supply

by James N. Dertouzos

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In an empirical study of Army recruiting data, RAND concluded that demand factors such as recruiter quotas and incentives to achieve and exceed them play a critical role in the determination of enlistments. Recruiters who achieve high-quality quotas are less likely to be induced by existing incentives to increase their productivity than are those who do not achieve high-quality quotas. Thus, resource expenditures meant to induce an increase in potential supply may not result in actual high-quality enlistments because recruiters do not have incentives to secure them. Two major research and policy implications emerge: (1) future attempts to project enlistments or to analyze the role of supply factors must consider demand factors explicitly; (2) the effectiveness of resource expenditures can be enhanced dramatically if appropriate incentives exist for recruiters.

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