We propose a dynamic general-equilibrium model with human capital accumulation to evaluate the economic consequences of compulsory services (such as military draft or social work). Our analysis identifies a so far ignored dynamic cost arising from distortions in time allocation over the life cycle.We provide conservative estimates for the excess burden that arises when the government relies on forced labor rather than on income taxation to finance public expenditures. Our results suggest that eliminating the draft could produce considerable dynamic gains, both in terms of GDP and lifetime utility.
German Economic Review (GER), the official publication of the German Economic Association (Verein für Socialpolitik), is an international journal publishing original and rigorous research of general interest in a broad range of economic disciplines. The scope of research approaches includes theoretical, empirical and experimental work.