Military Service and Academic Performance

A new GLO Discussion Paper studies conscription in the Republic of Cyprus and finds that an increase in the length of the army service has a positive effect on academic performance.

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GLO Discussion Paper No. 628, 2020

Conscription and Educational Outcomes: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from the Republic of CyprusDownload PDF

Savčić, Ružica & Theodoropoulos, Nikolaos & Xefteris, Dimitrios

GLO Fellow Nikolaos Theodoropoulos

Author Abstract: Peacetime military service has both positive and negative effects on human capital. While it depreciates academic abilities it also enhances non-cognitive skills. The net effect of conscription is hard to identify due to issues of self-selection, endogenous timing and omitted variables bias. We exploit the compulsory service of men in the Republic of Cyprus prior to university enrollment, to deal with the first two problems. After controlling for prior academic performance, admission age, and other relevant controls, we find that the duration of service has a positive effect on university test scores. Two exogenous reforms on the duration of the service allow us to deal with omitted variables bias. We estimate difference-in-difference models, where female students act as a control group, and show that a reduction (increase) in the length of the army service has a negative (positive) effect on male academic performance.

GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS,  EconPapers)Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.


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