Impact of the compulsory military service reform of 2007–2008 on the demand for higher education
This study evaluates the effect of a compulsory military service reform conducted in 2007–2008 on the demand for higher education in Russia. The reform shortened the conscription term (from two years to one year), abolished several deferments, and significantly reduced the number of military departments in Russian universities, which provided an opportunity to avoid being conscripted as a private. The difference between the Russian reform and the armed forces reforms carried out in several European countries in the 1990s–2000s lies in the fact that compulsory military service was not abolished completely. Based on data compiled from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey, we find that the men affected by the reform are, in general, approximately 12% less likely to graduate from higher education. The effect is more pronounced for men from cities and more advantaged family backgrounds. Army veterans exhibit steadily lower demand for higher education irrespective the reform.