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Open Access Publications from the University of California

U.S. Navy Promotion and Retention by Race and Sex


The Navy’s promotion-retention process involves two successive decisions: The Navy decides whether an individual is selected for promotion, and then, conditional on the Navy’s decision, the sailor decides whether to reenlist or leave the Navy. Rates of promotion and retention depend on individuals’ demographic and other characteristics, wars and economic conditions and factors that the Navy policy makers can control. Using estimates of these decision-making processes, we examine two important public policy questions: Do Navy promotion and retention rates differ across race and sex? Can the Navy alter its promotion and other policies to better retain sailors, or do war and civilian labor market conditions determine retention?

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