Impact of War and Military Service on Income Inequality in Northern Vietnam

Puk Bussarawan Teerawichitchainan, Population Council

During the 1940s-1970s Vietnam experienced nearly continuous wars. Military service was almost a rite of passage for young men growing up during these decades. Evidence indicates that families during wartime viewed military service as a locus for upward mobility, as the socialist regime promised veterans various incentives, including educational benefits, employment preference, and Communist Party membership. While this series of wars over the span of three decades has left a profound imprint on the early life course trajectories of men in Vietnam, there is surprisingly little research detailing the long-term consequences of military service. Based on the Vietnam Longitudinal Survey, this study examines the effects of military service on the subsequent earnings of veterans and non-veterans. I consider variations in the effects of preexisting characteristics, veteran status, age at entry into the military, and duration of service. I also attempt to take into account the potential effect of unmeasured selectivity.

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Presented in Session 15: Historical Perspectives on Inequality