OTHER SOCIAL ISSUES

The World War II Veteran Advantage? A Lifetime Cross-Sectional Study of Social Status Attainment

Article

This study examines the attainment levels of Second World War veterans.

Abstract

The impact of military service on the status attainment of World War II veterans has been studied since the 1950s; however, the research has failed to come to any consensus with regard to their level of attainment. Analyses have focused on cross-sectional or longitudinal data without considering the effects of service over the life course. The authors argue that World War II veterans, regardless of race, have greater attainment, measured in terms of education, income, and occupational prestige, over their lifetimes than non veterans. They use census data from the 1950 through 2000 Public Use Micro data Sample. The authors find that military service afforded white veterans significant advantages through their early and middle working years; however, their non veteran peers eventually caught up. They also find that black veterans receive more of a social status advantage relative to black non veterans, and military service helps to close the socioeconomic gap between blacks and whites.

Full Reference

Smith, I.R., Marsh, K., Segal, D.R., "The World War II Veteran Advantage? A Lifetime Cross-Sectional Study of Social Status Attainment", Armed Forces & Society . Vol 38, Issue 1, pp. 5 - 26