Levy, A., Deterrence Capacity, Relative Performance, Adjustment Costs, Hazard, Killing Aversion and the Optimal Enlistment Age, Department of Economics, University of Wollongong, 2005.
Early-age enlistment increases a small country’s potential army size and thereby its attack-deterrence capacity. However, physical and psychological injuries and, ultimately, death generate a loss of quality-adjusted life-years that reduces the net benefit from early-age enlistment. The net benefit from early or later age recruitment is also affected by the rise and decline of the individual’s military performance and civilian productivity and by changes in his adjustment costs over the lifespan. The simulations of an optimization model incorporating these elements suggest that if the intensity of the rise and decline of the individual’s military performance is sufficiently larger than the intensity of the rise and decline of his civilian productivity, there exists an interior optimal enlistment age greater than the commonly practiced eighteen. In such a case, most of the simulation results are closely scattered around twenty-one despite large parameter changes.