The Determinants of Service in the Armed Forces During the Vietnam Era




Shields, Patricia M.

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A comprehensive investigation of the military recruitment process during the Vietnam era focused on multiple facets of the equity issue to assess the impact of military manpower policies. Using data from a sample of young men in the National Longitudinal Surveys (NLS) three questions were addressed: who served, who was drafted, and who chose to enlist. The effects of ten determinants of military service (health conditions, mental ability, dependents, education, draft pressure, socioeconomic status, residence, earnings, unemployment, and knowledge of the world of work) on the probability of serving, enlisting, and being drafted were studied. Formulated hypotheses were tested by multiple classification analysis and logit. Separate analyses by race were also conducted. Results of the study included these: fathers served at rates significantly below average; racial inequalities in implementation of the health deferment existed; the military did not draw disproportionately from any one social class when fulfilling its manpower demands; draft pressure was the strongest predictor (the manpower needs of an intensifying war may have been the single most important factor in negating some of the earlier inequitable draft policies); and potential wage was not significantly related to black enlistment, though it was a strong predictor among whites.



draft, conscription, enlistment, Vietnam Era, equity, Political Science


Shields, P. M. (1977). The determinants of service in the armed forces during the Vietnam Era. The Center for Human Resource Research, Ohio State University.


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