Numbers Assigned in the Vietnam-Era Selective Service Lotteries Influence the Military Service Decisions of Children Born to Draft-Eligible Men: A Research Note

Tim Johnson, Christopher T. Dawes, Matt McGue, William G. Iacono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous research has reported correlations between the military service records of parents and their children. Those studies, however, have not determined whether a parent’s military service causally influences an offspring’s participation in the armed forces. To investigate the possibility of a causal relationship, we examined whether lottery numbers issued to draft-eligible men during the U.S. Vietnam-era Selective Service Lotteries influenced the military participation of those men’s children. Our study found higher rates of military participation among children born to fathers whose randomly assigned numbers were called for induction. Furthermore, we perform statistical analyses indicating that the influence of lottery numbers on the subsequent generation’s military participation operated through the military service of draft-eligible men as opposed to mechanisms unrelated to service such as “draft dodging.” These findings provide evidence of a causal link between the military service of parents and their children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-367
Number of pages21
JournalArmed Forces and Society
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

Keywords

  • family issues
  • military culture
  • public policy
  • recruitment/retention

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