CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, October 22, 2021

Liao on Compulsory Military Service and Crime Rates

Chen-Hsuan Liao (The University of Tokyo - University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Public Policy) has posted Does compulsory military service influence crime rates? Evidence from Taiwan on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This study investigates the effects of compulsory military service on adolescent crime. I exploit the reduction in the duration of Taiwan’s compulsory military service from one year to four months, which started in 2013. Using a triple difference approach, I find that the shorter service duration has led to a 36% increase in the number of adolescent male suspects and a 30% increase in crime rates. In particular, by enacting a 67% reduction in the time adolescents are incapacitated by military service, the reform has allowed adolescent males to engage in more criminal activities. My findings indicate that military service helps reduce crime; specifically, they suggest that the incapacitation effect of compulsory military service rather than the positive values (discipline, obedience, and collaboration) cultivated in a military camp has the most substantial impact on crime rates.

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