Military Experience, Civilian Experience, and the Earnings of Veterans


This article explores the effects of military and civilian experience on the earnings of veterans and determines that military experience increases potential civilian earnings. It notes that the US military is a significant provider of on-the-job training and experience in the US economy.


This paper examines the effects of military experience and civilian experience on the earnings of veterans with the objective of determining the substitutability of these two forms of experience for personnel receiving different types of military training. To perform the analysis, the Social Security earnings records of 24,000 individuals who separated from military service in fiscal year 1971 were obtained for the period 1972-77. Analysis of these data reveals that more military experience does increase subsequent civilian earnings, but that the relative impact of military and civilian experience varies considerably by military occupation category.

Full Reference

Goldberg, M. S. and Warner, J. T., 1987. Military experience, civilian experience and the earnings of veterans. The Journal of Human Resources, 22(1), pp. 62-81.