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Maxwell School

Maxwell Policy Research Symposium

Military Service, Social (Dis)Advantage, and the Life Course

October 5-6, 2007

To what extent does participation in the military shape individual lives? A variety of U.S. scholars provided insight into this question at the Fall 2007 Maxwell Policy Research Symposium. Janet Wilmoth and Andrew London organized this conference as part of an ongoing project that examines the influence of military service on the life course.

This multifaceted project is using several data sources to understand variation in disability prevalence, health trajectories, and mortality outcomes by veteran status. The results thus far have revealed that veterans are more likely to have disabilities than nonveterans, with women and minority veterans having particularly high rates of disability. In addition, among older men, previous military service is related to better self-rated health but a greater likelihood of death. However, military service offsets the mortality disadvantage experienced by African American men in more recent cohorts. Wilmoth and London are currently collaborating with Len Lopoo and Doug Wolf to use instrumental variable techniques to account for selection into the military and fixed-frailty models to address unobserved mortality selection. This project has received funding from the University of Wisconsin Center for Demography of Health and Aging and the National Institute on Aging (NIA Grant# 1RO1AG028480-01).

Janet Wilmoth is an Associate Professor of Sociology and a Senior Research Associate in the Center for Policy Research at Syracuse University. Her research is motivated by a concern for well-being in later life. She takes an interdisciplinary conceptual approach that utilizes demographic methods of analysis. In particular, she uses secondary data and mostly longitudinal analysis to address later life living arrangements, financial security, and health status. Her research has been published in the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, Research on Aging, and The Gerontologist. She recently edited (with Ken Ferraro) Gerontology: Perspectives and Issues, 3rd edition.

Andrew London is a Professor of Sociology and Senior Research Associate in the Center for Policy Research at Syracuse University. His research focuses on the health, well-being, and care of stigmatized and vulnerable populations. He has long-term research agendas focused on health care services and community-based care for persons living with HIV and the impact of welfare reform on poor women and their children. His research has been published in American Journal of Public Health, Demography, Journal of Marriage & Family, and Social Science & Medicine.

Conference Papers and Presentations

Keynote Address

Glenn Elder, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. World War II: A Cataclysm of Change

Socioeconomic Selection and Outcomes

Amy Lutz, Syracuse University. Who Joins the Military? Variation in Military Service by Race/Ethnicity and the Immigrant Generation

Glen Elder, Victor Wang, Daniel Adkins, Naomi Spence, and Tyson Brown, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Diverse Pathways to Military Service: The U.S. Volunteer Armed Forces

Pamela Bennett, Johns Hopkins University. Assessing Military Service as a Pathway to Socioeconomic Achievement

Meredith Kleykamp, University of Kansas. Women Warriors' Wages: The Returns to Military Service among Female Veterans of the All-Volunteer Force

Marriage and Family

Margaret Usdansky, Syracuse University. Military Service and Union Formation/Dissolution

Jay Teachman and Lucky Tedrow, Western Washington University. Building a Race-Blind Organization: Military Service and Risk of Divorce

Debi Street and Brenda Moore, State University of New York at Buffalo. Gender and Deployment: Experiences of Stateside Families

Dan Lichter, Sharon Sassler, and Rachel Dunifon, Cornell University. Children of Military Families: Adolescent Development and the Transition to Adulthood

Race and Military Service

Larry Logue and Peter Blanck, Mississippi College and Syracuse University. Benefit of the Doubt: African-American Veterans and Civil War Pensions

Jennifer Hickes Lundquist and Mary Fischer, University of Massachusetts-Amherst and University of Connecticut. Does Past Military Service Improve U.S. Race Relations? Veterans and Residential Segregation

Amy Bailey, University of Washington. The Effects of Race and Military Service on Geographic and Social Mobility

Chris Rohlfs, Syracuse University. Why Did So Many Black People Die in Vietnam?

Health and Disability

Douglas A. Wolf, Syracuse University. Military Service and Mortality: A Re-appraisal Using Frailty Models

Alair MacLean and Ryan Edwards, Washington State University-Vancouver and City University of New York-Queens. Health and Rank among Veterans

Maria Brown, Syracuse University. Differences in Cognitive Trajectories between Veterans and Non-veterans: Evidence from the AHEAD

Jingwen Chen, Syracuse University. Later-Life Health Conditions among Veterans and Non-veterans: Evidence from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study

For more information about this conference, contact Kelly Bogart, Center for Policy Research, 315-443-9040,

The Center for Policy Research in The Maxwell School at Syracuse University sponsors an annual Policy Research symposium concentrating on a specific area of public policy analysis. Several highly distinguished visitors present papers at these conferences each year. Past conference proceedings have been published as books and special issues of conference journals.