This paper explores the determinants of enlistment for a large sample of male youth drawn from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Logit results indicate that the probability of enlistment is directly related to minority and poverty status while controlling for ability and a number of other socioeconomic background variables. In addition, an analysis of poverty transitions show that a very large percentage of enlistees in the early 1980s who were living in poverty at age 17 were successful in escaping poverty by 1990. An important conclusion is that the military can serve as a mechanism of upward economic mobility for disadvantaged youth. (J15, J24)



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