Military Enlistment and Attrition. An Analysis of Decision Reversal
RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CA
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This report presents a theoretical discussion and empirical analysis, of enlistment and first-term attrition. The theoretical discussion argues that the observable roles of the enlistee and the service are not symmetric in the enlistment and attrition decisions. At the enlistment point the service does not undertake a detailed evaluation of each prospective recruits expected productivity as a soldier, but instead relies on eligibility criteria to reject hose least likely to succeed in the military. Subject to eligibility, an individual can choose whether or not to enlist. That decision can be influenced by advertising, enlistment incentives, recruiter behavior, and information about military opportunities. With regard to attrition, however, the service no longer plays a passive role. The service, given information about the recruits performance in training and on duty, evaluates the desirability of retaining him in service for the duration of his term. The individual similarly evaluates the desirability of remaining in service until the end of his term relative to his alternatives in the civilian sector. If either the service or the individual is sufficiently disappointed with the value of the job match prior to the end of the term, attrition can occur. This decision reversal results when actual outcomes fall far short of expectations.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations