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Military Service and Life Chances in Contemporary China

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionZhang, Chunni. 2014. "Military Service and Life Chances in Contemporary China." PSC Research Report No. 14-829. 9 2014.

Military service as a turning point that redirects life trajectories has long been recognized in the U.S. literature, but it has not been systematically studied in China. Using data from the China Family Panel Studies, this study examines the returns to military service on extensive social outcomes, including tertiary education, marriage, Party membership, income, housing, and occupational status. The study not only compares the outcome differences between male veterans and a matched sample of male nonveterans, but also analyzes variation in military effect across social origin, historical period, life cycle, and service status. The findings show that military service is an important channel for men's upward mobility in China, but its effect is contingent on when the service occurs, how long the service lasts, and which outcome is under examination.

Country of focus: China.

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