Monday, February 24, 2020

Russian Draftees Mostly from Poorer Families and Don’t Suffer from Time Away from School or Job, Kopytok and Ratnikova Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 18 – Draftees in Russia are more likely to live separately from their parents after their term of service ends and begin to work, get married and have children than are their coevals who have received deferments, according to a new study by Vitovk Kopytok and Tatyana Ratnikova.

            But besides these positive consequences, the two Higher School of Economics scholars say, their time in service has a negative impact on their civilian careers and on their incomes (“Influence of Obligatory Service in the Army on Incomes and Pay: The Russian Example” (in Russian), Prikladnaya ekonometrika, 55 (2019): 51-72 at; summarized at

            To determine how these positive and negative influences balance out particularly over the longer term – previous Russian research had focused on the immediate impact of draft service, they say, and concluded that the time in the military depressed incomes significantly -- the two economists examined the cases of 7400 men aged 30 to 60.  

            Kopytok and Ratnikova concluded that while the impact might be large initially, over the longer term, the incomes of draftees were not profoundly affected, in part because men from poorer families are more likely to be drafted than from those better off and thus after service will do better than expected, ceteris paribus, relative to their fellows who aren’t drafted.

            “In the main, young people from poor families land in the army,” they write.  Those in their cohort who aren’t drafted may be able to continue their schooling or gain work experience but these things will not have a significant impact on their incomes and careers especially in the longer term.

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