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Military Service and Economic Mobility: Evidence from the American Civil War

, : Military Service and Economic Mobility: Evidence from the American Civil War. Explorations in Economic History 49(3): 367-379

How did geographic and occupational mobility after the Civil War differ between Union Army veterans and nonveterans? By 1880, Union veterans were more likely to migrate to a different state or region than nonveterans. The higher geographic mobility of veterans is likely attributable to their experience of traveling away from their hometowns while in service. Union veterans who held unskilled jobs prior to enlistment were more likely to move up to white-collar or farming jobs by 1880 than unskilled nonveterans. In contrast, unskilled veterans were less likely to become artisans than nonveterans. The differences in occupational mobility by veteran status might be explained by the effects of military experiences such as learning from comrades in the company.


PMID: 23275679

DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2012.03.001

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