The Reintegration of Wounded and Disabled Veterans into the Civilian Labor Market

Ethan Schmick, University of Pittsburgh

This paper measures the extent to which wounded and disabled veterans are reintegrated into the civilian labor market using a linked sample of World War I veterans. Specifically, veterans' military service abstracts are linked to the 1940 United States Census and the 1942 “Old Man's Draft” Registration Cards. This creates a new dataset that contains military service information, labor market outcomes, and physical characteristics of World War I veterans. Relative to those that were neither wounded nor disabled, I find that severely wounded and disabled veterans had higher incomes, worked more weeks, and had higher wages in 1939. Disabled veterans, however, were less likely to be in the labor force. These findings suggest that government rehabilitation programs, mandated by the 1918 Vocational Rehabilitation Act, were successful at reintegrating wounded and disabled veterans into the civilian labor market.

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Presented in Session 78: The Effect of War on Health and Mortality