This report studies how changes in job location for active duty members of the US military affect the earnings of their civilian spouses. We investigate the causal impact of military moves on spousal earnings by creating a unique longitudinal database that tracks over 900,000 military spouses over the period 2001–2012, based on data from two administrative sources — military records on personnel and their dependents, and Social Security earnings records. We find that moves cause a substantial decline in spousal earnings in the year of the move, on the order of $2,100, or 14% of average spousal earnings.
This research was conducted within the Forces and Resources Policy Center of the RAND National Defense Research Institute.
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