Balancing Two Lives

The Relationship of Activation, Pay, and Retention Among U.S. Air Force Reserve Pilots

by Brian E.A. Maue

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Following the events of September 11th, the average days served by the part-time pilots of the Air Force Reserve doubled and, at times, tripled compared to the pre-September 11th rates. These part-time pilots in the Air Force Reserve often work for civilian airlines and earn some of the highest civilian incomes in the nation. Both Congress and the Department of Defense have expressed concerns that if activation causes income losses for activated members, these losses might lead some reservists to leave the reserves earlier than they otherwise would have and might also prevent some potential reservists from ever joining the reserves. This dissertation analyzes whether the increased activation of reserve pilots negatively affects their earnings and retention rates. The author uses information relevant to the dual-employment aspect of part-time, reserve pilots to develop a theoretical model for how an individual might behave when choosing between reserve activation time and civilian employment opportunities. The insights from this model provide the basis for two empirical analyses. The results of both analyses suggest that positive income and retention impacts are associated with increased activation service.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Data

  • Chapter Three

    The Other Life: Civilian Employment Opportunities

  • Chapter Four

    Predicting the Activation Behavior of an RC Pilot

  • Chapter Five

    Activation Patterns of RC Pilots

  • Chapter Six

    The Effect of Activation on RC Pilot Earnings

  • Chapter Seven

    How Separation Rates Change with Activation

  • Chapter Eight

    Conclusions

  • Chapter Nine

    Bibliography

  • Chapter Ten

    Appendices

Research conducted by

This document was submitted as a dissertation in December 2006 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of James R. Hosek (Chair), David S. Loughran, and Albert A. Robbert III.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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