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This study analyzes factors in the enlistment decisions of two segments of the recruiting market: high school seniors, and nonstudent high school graduates. It draws on data from the 1979 Department of Defense Survey of Personnel Entering Military Service and from the 1979 wave of the National Longitudinal Survey of Labor Force Behavior, Youth Survey. The authors base their empirical analysis on hypotheses derived from the theories of investment in human capital and career choice, and on the theory of recruiter behavior. They find that seniors and graduates differ substantially in the empirical determinants of their enlistment decisions; education expectations play a major role in enlistment behavior; and graduate's enlistment probability is much less in areas with a fairly high proportion of seniors and recent graduates, whereas a senior's enlistment probability is unaffected.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.