Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-5959bf8d4d-2zkqf Total loading time: 0.256 Render date: 2022-12-09T10:31:27.479Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Generations of Veterans: Socioeconomic Attainment from World War II to the Contemporary Era

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 December 2020

Alair MacLean*
Affiliation:
Department of Sociology, Washington State University Vancouver, Vancouver, WA98686
Meredith Kleykamp
Affiliation:
Department of Sociology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD20742

Abstract

Scholars have long examined how generations or, more technically, cohorts produce social change. According to theory, people’s lives are shaped by the years in which they were born because they experience, along with their peers, particular historical events at the same points in the life course. Despite the importance of history, however, many scholars have evaluated cohorts not defined by clear start and end dates, but rather by arbitrary cut points, such as five-year intervals. In contrast, this article uses defined changes in military service in the United States stemming from shifts between war and peace, and from draft to volunteer service to assess how cohorts have contributed to change in socioeconomic attainment. It uses the Current Population Survey from 1971 to 2017, which has not previously been used to evaluate how veteran status may have produced shifting outcomes across cohorts. It finds evidence that cohorts had different average income overall and between groups, with veterans earning more money than nonveterans who were eligible to serve during the draft era before the Vietnam War. These gaps are partially explained by racial and educational differences. The findings provide a model for analyses of changes in the relative status of other groups, as well as information about how the role of military service in social mobility changed historically.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Social Science History Association

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Altschuler, Glenn C., and Blumin, Stuart M. (2009) The GI Bill: The New Deal for Veterans. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Angrist, Joshua D. (1990) “Lifetime earnings and the Vietnam era draft lottery: Evidence from Social-Security administrative records.American Economic Review 80 (3): 313–36.Google Scholar
Angrist, Joshua D., Chen, Stacey H., and Song, Jae (2011) “Long-term consequences of Vietnam-era conscription: New estimates using Social Security data.American Economic Review 101 (3): 334–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Angrist, Joshua D., and Krueger, Alan B. (1994) “Why do World-War-II veterans earn more than nonveterans?Journal of Labor Economics 12 (1): 7497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Beinhoff, Lisa (2011) “The Millennials: A survey of the most cited literature.Choice 48 (12): 2225–31.Google Scholar
Berger, Mark C., and Hirsch, Barry T. (1985) “Veteran status as a screening device during the Vietnam era.Social Science Quarterly 66: 7989.Google Scholar
Bound, John, and Turner, Sarah (2002) “Going to war and going to college: Did World War II and the G.I. Bill increase educational attainment for returning veterans?Journal of Labor Economics 20 (4): 784815.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brokaw, Tom (1998) The Greatest Generation. Random House.Google Scholar
Brooks, Clem, and Bolzendahl, Catherine (2004) “The transformation of US gender role attitudes: Cohort replacement, social-structural change, and ideological learning.Social Science Research 33 (1): 106–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brotz, Howard, and Wilson, Everett (1946) “Characteristics of military society.American Journal of Sociology 51 (5): 371–75.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Browning, Harley L., Lopreato, Sally C., and Poston, Dudley L. Jr. (1973) “Income and veteran status: Variations among Mexican Americans, Blacks and Whites.American Sociological Review 38 (1): 7485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Campbell, Colin, and Pearlman, Jessica (2013) “Period effects, cohort effects, and the narrowing gender wage gap.Social Science Research 42 (6): 16931711.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Card, Josefina J. (1983) Lives after Vietnam: The Personal Impact of Military Service. LexingtonBooks.Google Scholar
Chauvel, Louis (2013) “Specificity and consistency of cohort effects: The APCD model applied to generational inequalities, France-United States, 1985–2010.Revue française de sociologie 54 (4): 665707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chauvel, Louis, and Schröder, Martin (2014) “Generational inequalities and welfare regimes.Social Forces 92 (4): 1259–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Clausen, John H. (1998) “Life reviews and life stories,” in Giele, Janet Zollinger and Elder, Glen H. (eds.) Methods of life Course Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Sage Publications: 189212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cohany, Sharon R. (1992) “The Vietnam-era cohort: Employment and earnings.Monthly Labor Review 115 (6): 315.Google Scholar
Cohen, Jere, Segal, David R., and Temme, Lloyd V. (1992) “The impact of education on Vietnam-era veterans’ occupational attainment.Social Science Quarterly 73 (2): 397409.Google Scholar
Cooney, Richard T. Jr., Segal, Mady Wechsler, Segal, David R., and Falk, William W. (2003) “Racial differences in the impact of military service on the socioeconomic status of women veterans.Armed Forces and Society 30 (1): 5386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dannefer, Dale (2003) “Cumulative advantage/disadvantage and the life course: Cross-fertilizing age and social science theory.Journals of Gerontology Series B-Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 58 (6): S327–37.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Davis, James A. (2012) “On the seemingly relentless progress in Americans’ support for free expression, 1972–2006,” in Marsden, Peter V. (ed.) Social Trends in American Life: Findings from the General Social Survey since 1972. Princeton University Press: 1937.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
De Tray, Dennis (1982) “Veteran status as a screening device.The American Economic Review 72 (1): 133–42.Google Scholar
DiPrete, Thomas A., and Eirich, Gregory M. (2006) “Cumulative advantage as a mechanism for inequality: A review of theoretical and empirical developments.Annual Review of Sociology 32: 271–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Elder, Glen H. Jr., Gimbel, Cynthia, and Ivie, Rachel (1991) “Turning points in life: The case of military service and war.Military Psychology 3 (4): 215–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Flood, Sarah, King, Miriam, Ruggles, Steven, and Warren, J. Robert (2015) Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, Current Population Survey: Version 4.0. [Machine-readable database]. University of Minnesota.Google Scholar
Flynn, George Q. (1993) The Draft, 1940–1973, Modern War Studies. University Press of Kansas.Google Scholar
Flynn, George Q. (2002) Conscription and Democracy: The Draft in France, Great Britain, and the United States. Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
Gangl, Markus (2004) “Welfare states and the scar effects of unemployment: A comparative analysis of the United States and West Germany.American Journal of Sociology 109 (6): 1319–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goldberg, Matthew S., and Warner, John T. (1987) “Military experience, civilian experience and the earnings of Veterans.Journal of Human Resources 32 (1): 6281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Henretta, John C., and Lee, Hyunkee (1996) “Cohort differences in men’s late-life labor force participation.Work and Occupations 23 (2): 214–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hout, Michael (1988) “More universalism, less structural mobility: The American occupational structure in the 1980s.American Journal of Sociology 93 (6): 13581400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Howe, Neil, Strauss, William, and Nadler, Reena (2008) Millennials & K–12 schools: Educational strategies for a new generation. LifeCourse Associates.Google Scholar
Institute of Medicine (2013) Returning Home from Iraq and Afghanistan: Assessment of Readjustment Needs of Veterans, Service Members, and Their Families. National Academies Press.Google Scholar
Jaeger, Hans (1985) “Generations in history: Reflections on a controversial concept.History and Theory 24 (3): 273–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kertzer, David I. (1983) “Generation as a sociological problem.Annual Review of Sociology 9: 125–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kleykamp, Meredith (2013) “Unemployment, earnings and enrollment among post 9/11 veterans.Social Science Research 42 (3): 836–51.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lee, Gary R., DeMaris, Alfred, Bavin, Stefoni, and Sullivan, Rachel (2001) “Gender differences in the depressive effect of widowhood in later life.Journals of Gerontology Series B-Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 56 (1): S56S61.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Leicht, Kevin T. (2008) “Broken down by race and gender? Sociological explanations of new sources of earnings inequality.Annual Review of Sociology 34: 237–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lembcke, Jerry (1998) The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam. New York University Press.Google Scholar
Lemieux, Thomas (2006) “Increasing residual wage inequality: Composition effects, noisy data, or rising demand for skill?American Economic Review 96 (3): 461–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Levy, Yagil (2007) “Soldiers as laborers: A theoretical model.Theory and Society 36 (2): 187208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lopreato, Sally C., and Poston, Dudley L. Jr. (1977) “Differences in earnings and earnings ability between black veterans and nonveterans in the United States.Social Science Quarterly 57 (4): 750–66.Google Scholar
Luo, L. Y. (2013) “Assessing validity and application scope of the intrinsic estimator approach to the age-period-cohort problem.Demography 50 (6): 1945–67.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Maas, Ineke, and Settersten, Richard A. Jr. (1999) “Military service during wartime: Effects on men’s occupational trajectories and later economic well-being.European Sociological Review 15 (2): 213–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
MacLean, Alair (2010) “The things they carry: Combat, disability, and unemployment among U.S. men.American Sociological Review 75 (4): 563–85.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
MacLean, Alair, and Kleykamp, Meredith (2014) “Coming home: Attitudes toward U.S. veterans returning from Iraq.Social Problems 61 (1): 131–54.Google Scholar
Mani, Bonnie G. (2013) “The human capital model and federal employees’ pay: Gender, veteran status, and occupation.Gender Issues 30 (1–4): 1538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mannheim, Karl ([1927] 1952) “The problem of generations,” in Mannheim, Karl (ed.) Essays on the Sociology of Knowledge. Routledge & Kegan Paul Limited: 276320.Google Scholar
Mare, Robert D. (1981) “Change and stability in educational stratification.American Sociological Review 46 (1): 7287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mare, Robert D., and Winship, Christopher (1984) “The paradox of lessening racial inequality and joblessness among black youth: Enrollment, enlistment, and employment, 1964–1981.American Sociological Review 49 (1): 3955.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Marsden, Peter V., and Sirastava, Sammer B. (2012) “Trends in informal social participation, 1974–2008,” in Marsden, Peter V. (ed.) Social Trends in American Life: Findings from the General Social Survey since 1972. Princeton University Press: 1937.Google Scholar
Merton, Robert King (1968) “The Matthew effect in science.Science 159 (3810): 5663.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mettler, Suzanne (2005) Soldiers to Citizens: The G.I. Bill and the Making of the Greatest Generation. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Mincer, Jacob A. (1974) “Age and experience profiles of earnings,” in Schooling, Experience, and Earnings. Columbia University Press: 6482.Google Scholar
Moran, John L., Solomon, Patricia J., Peisach, Aaron R., and Martin, Jeffrey (2007) “New models for old questions: Generalized linear models for cost prediction.Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 13 (3): 381–89.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Morgan, Laurie A. (1998) “Glass-ceiling effect or cohort effect? A longitudinal study of the gender earnings gap for engineers, 1982 to 1989.American Sociological Review 63 (4): 479–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moskos, Charles C. (1981) “Making the all-volunteer force work: A national service approach.Foreign Affairs 60 (1): 1734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Poston, Dudley L. Jr. (1979) “The influence of military service on the civilian earnings patterns of blacks, Mexican Americans, and Anglos.Journal of Political and Military Sociology 7 (Spring): 7188.Google Scholar
Rostker, Bernard (2006) I Want You! The Evolution of the All-Volunteer Force. RAND.Google Scholar
Ryder, Norman B. (1965) “The cohort as a concept in the study of social change.American Sociological Review 30 (6): 843–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sackett, Paul R., and Mavor, Anne S. (2003) Attitudes, Aptitudes, and Aspirations of American Youth: Implications for Military Recruiting. National Academy Press.Google Scholar
Sampson, Robert J., and Laub, John H. (1996) “Socioeconomic achievement in the life course of disadvantaged men: Military service as a turning point, circa 1940–1965.American Sociological Review 61 (3): 347–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Segal, David R., and Segal, Mady W. (2004) “America’s military population.Population Bulletin 59 (4): 340.Google Scholar
Severo, Richard, and Milford, Lewis (1989) The Wages of War: When America’s Soldiers Came Home—from Valley Forge to Vietnam. Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
Simon, C. J., Negrusa, S., and Warner, J. T. (2010) “Educational benefits and military service: An analysis of enlistment, reenlistment, and veterans’ benefit usage 1991–2005.Economic Inquiry 48 (4): 1008–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Small, Dylan S., and Rosenbaum, Paul R. (2008) “War and wages: The strength of instrumental variables and their sensitivity to unobserved biases.Journal of the American Statistical Association 103 (483): 924–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Smith, Irving III, Marsh, Kris, and Segal, David R. (2012) “The World War II veteran advantage? A lifetime cross-sectional study of social status attainment.Armed Forces & Society 38 (1): 526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stanley, Marcus (2003) “College education and the midcentury GI bills.The Quarterly Journal of Economics 118 (2): 671708.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
StataCorp (2015) Stata Statistical Software: Release 14. StataCorp LP.Google Scholar
Strauss, William, and Howe, Neil (1991) Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069. Morrow.Google Scholar
Strauss, William, and Howe, Neil (1997) The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy. Broadway Books.Google Scholar
Tanielian, Terri L., and Jaycox, Lisa (2008) Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery. RAND.Google Scholar
Teachman, Jay D. (2004) “Military service during the Vietnam era: Were there consequences for subsequent civilian earnings?Social Forces 83 (2): 709–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Teachman, Jay D., and Call, Vaughn R. A. (1996) “The effect of military service on educational, occupational, and income attainment.Social Science Research 25 (1): 131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Teachman, Jay D., and Tedrow, Lucky M. (2004) “Wages, earnings, and occupational status: Did World War II veterans receive a premium?Social Science Research 33 (4): 581605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Teachman, Jay D., and Tedrow, Lucky M. (2007) “Joining up: Did military service in the early all volunteer era affect subsequent civilian income?Social Science Research 36 (4): 1447–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tremmel, Jörg (2010) A Young Generation under Pressure: The Financial Situation and the “Rush Hour” of the Cohorts 1970–1985 in a Generational Comparison. Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Vaisey, Stephen, and Lizardo, Omar (2016) “Cultural fragmentation or acquired dispositions? A new approach to accounting for patterns of cultural change.Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World 2: 115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Willson, Andrea E., Shuey, Kim M., and Elder, Glen H. Jr. (2007) “Cumulative advantage processes as mechanisms of inequality in life course health.American Journal of Sociology 112 (6): 18861924.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Xie, Yu (1992) “The socioeconomic status of young male veterans, 1964–1984.Social Science Quarterly 73 (2): 379–96.Google Scholar
Yang, Y., Fu, W. J. J., and Land, K. C. (2004) “A methodological comparison of age-period-cohort models: The intrinsic estimator and conventional generalized linear models.Sociological Methodology 34: 75110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yang, Yang (2008) “Social inequalities in happiness in the United States, 1972 to 2004: An age-period-cohort analysis.American Sociological Review 73 (2): 204–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yoakum, Clarence Stone, and Yerkes, Robert Mearns (1920) Army Mental Tests. H. Holt and Company.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Supplementary material: PDF

MacLean and Kleykamp supplementary material

MacLean and Kleykamp supplementary material

Download MacLean and Kleykamp supplementary material(PDF)
PDF 133 KB
2
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Generations of Veterans: Socioeconomic Attainment from World War II to the Contemporary Era
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Generations of Veterans: Socioeconomic Attainment from World War II to the Contemporary Era
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Generations of Veterans: Socioeconomic Attainment from World War II to the Contemporary Era
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *