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Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title The Educational Legacy of the Greatest Generation: Paternal Military Service and Baby Boomer Educational Attainment
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
URL http://www.eh.net/eha/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Kimbrough.pdf
The American “high school movement” of the early 20th century resulted in a dramatic
rise in high school graduation rates, a trend that continued into the middle of the century
interrupted only by World War II. Previous work has characterized the pre-World War II
transformation of secondary education, but less attention has been focused on the continued
increased in educational attainment after the War, culminating in Baby Boomer children
graduating from high school at a greater rate than any previous generation. High rates of
military service and subsequent subisidies for factors shown to be associated with children’s
educational attainment offer a possible explanation. In this paper, I link Baby Boomer
children to their fathers using IPUMS data to examine this relationship. I find that father’s
veteran status is associated with greater educational attainment for children, but I am unable
to provide evidence that this is due to an exogenous effect of military service and GI Bill
subsidies and not positive selection into military service.

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