Going to War and Going to College: Years of college completed

Going to War and Going to College: Years of college completedFocusing on men born between 1923 and 1928 (who turned 18 between 1941 and 1946), date of birth effectively determined when an individual was expected to register for the draft and individuals could not register (and were, therefore, not at risk of induction) before reaching the age of 18. Examining the differences in outcomes among those turning 18 during the war mitigates the effect of potential differences in the response to the G.I. Bill among veterans reaching college age before and after the start of the war. Observationally similar individuals with earlier birthdates stood much higher probabilities of induction in World War II than those born later. The most dramatic differences appear in the comparisons of men born before and after 1927. It is this variation in service participation that identifies the effect of military service and benefits for World War II participants. Essentially, we are comparing the educational attainment of men born during the mid 1920s, who would have typically been inducted into the military after finishing high school in the early 1940s and would have returned to civilian life in the late 1940s, to men born in the late 1920s who would have finished high school at just about the same time.
Between cohort estimates for the educational outcomes of years of college and college completion are shown in Tables 4 and 5. These estimates are strikingly smaller than the estimates within birth cohorts. For men born between 1923-28, our estimates suggest that the effect of veteran service and the associated G.I. benefits on collegiate attainment are about .15 years, with college completion increasing by about 4 percentage points. While such measured effects are smaller in absolute magnitude than the within cohort estimates, they nonetheless represent relative increments of 16% in years of college and 23% in college completion. The college completion results are particularly striking because they are relatively larger than the outcomes of years of college and college enrollment, suggesting that the persistence of veterans in the educational pipeline was substantially greater than that observed for nonveterans.
In the tables, we report a range of specifications that present alternative ranges of birth cohorts, as well as the inclusion of quarter of birth effects. This range of estimates reflects several alternative specifications reported in the tables. In the first case, we consider the variation across birth cohorts from 1923-27. While this range of birth cohorts might be seen as constrained to those men entering the military under nearly identical conscription requirements, the short interval also reduces the precision of the point estimates. Comparison of the similar specifications with and without the inclusion of the 1928 data (compare (1) and (3)) yields slightly smaller point estimates in the latter case though an appreciably narrower confidence interval, which includes the point estimate from the 1923-27 cohorts while ruling out a range of other values.
Table 4: Between cohort estimates of the effect of World War II service on years of college completed

1923-27 1923-28 1923-29 1923-30 1923-31 1923-1932
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12)
OLS
Trend / 10 0.31(0.05) 0.31(0.05) 0.31(0.04) 0.30(0.04) 0.29(0.04) 0.29(0.04) 0.30(0.04) 0.29(0.04) 0.32(0.04) 0.32(0.04) 0.35(0.04) 0.35(0.04)
World War II 0.16(0.12) 0.20(0.11) 0.15(0.04) 0.15(0.04) 0.11(0.04) 0.11(0.04) 0.10(0.03) 0.10(0.03) 0.11(0.03) 0.10(0.03) 0.12(0.04) 0.11(0.04)
Quarter of x x x x x x
Birth Effects
R2 0.78 0.89 0.78 0.86 0.77 0.81 0.8 0.83 0.84 0.85 0.88 0.89
IV
Trend / 10 0.30(0.04) 0.29(0.03) 0.31(0.05) 0.30(0.04) 0.33(0.05) 0.32(0.05) 0.39(0.06) 0.38(0.06) 0.41(0.05) 0.4(0.05)
World War II 0.14(0.04) 0.14(0.04) 0.12(0.04) 0.12(0.03) 0.13(0.04) 0.12(0.04) 0.16(0.05) 0.15(0.05) 0.17(0.05) 0.16(0.05)
Instruments
Constant x x x x x x x x x x
Linear Trend x x x x x x x x x x
18 after V-J Day x x x x x x x x x x
Quarter of x x x x x
Birth Effects
N= 20 24 28 32 36 40

Table 5: Between cohort estimates of the effect of World War II service on college completion

1923-27 1923-28 1923-29 1923-30 1923-31 1923-1932
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12)
OLS
Trend / 10 0.07 0.07 0.07 0.07 0.07 0.07 0.07 0.07 0.08 0.07 0.08 0.08
(0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01)
World War II 0.05 0.06 0.04 0.04 0.03 0.03 0.03 0.03 0.03 0.03 0.03 0.03
(0.03) (0.02) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01)
Quarter of x x x x x x
Birth Effects
R2 0.72 0.84 0.7 0.77 0.69 0.72 0.73 0.76 0.78 0.79 0.84 0.85
IV
Trend / 10 0.07 0.07 0.07 0.07 0.08 0.08 0.09 0.09 0.1 0.1
(0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01)
World War II 0.04 0.03 0.03 0.03 0.04 0.03 0.04 0.04 0.05 0.04
(0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01)
Instruments
Constant x x x x x x x x x x
Linear Trend x x x x x x x x x x
18 after V-J Day x x x x x x x x x x
Quarter of x x x x x
Birth Effects
N= 20 24 28 32 36 40