Accession Number:

ADA614897

Title:

Reducing Risks in Wartime Through Capital-Labor Substitution: Evidence from World War II

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:

NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA

Report Date:

2014-07-17

Pagination or Media Count:

50.0

Abstract:

This paper uses data from multiple archival sources to examine substitution among armored tank-intensive, infantry troop-intensive, and airborne also troop-intensive units, as well as mid-war reorganizations of each type, to estimate the marginal cost of reducing U.S. fatalities in World War II, holding constant mission effectiveness, usage intensity, and task difficulty. Assuming that the government equated marginal benefits and costs, this figure measures the implicit value placed on soldiers lives. Our preferred estimates indicate that infantrymens lives were valued in 2009 dollars between zero and 0.5 million and armored troops lives were valued between 2 million and 6 million, relative to the efficient 1 million to 2 million 1940s-era private value of life. We find that the reorganizations of the armored and airborne divisions both increased efficiency, one by reducing costs with little increase in fatalities and the other by reducing fatalities with little increase in costs.

Subject Categories:

  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE