Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

William S. Neilson, Christian A. Vossler

Committee Members

Scott M. Gilpatric, Michael Lane Morris


In the first chapter, we use a laboratory experiment to investigate empirically the influence of various organizational designs on producing welfare-enhancing outcomes for a firm. We find organizational design significantly influences group outcomes without changes to incentive structures, which can be explained by a theory that assumes individuals care not only about their own self-interest but receive disutility when the group outcome deviates from a social norm. We hypothesize that organizational design changes affect individuals through a combination of changing the amount of moral wiggle room available and cognitive energy required to self-deceive, and allowing for individuals to update their beliefs about assumed group preferences through communication.In chapter two, we consider recent research utilizing Health and Retirement Survey data, which identifies a growing wealth gap between veterans and non-veterans entering retirement age. We survey the literature by exploring institutional factors such as income challenges associated with military service. We conclude that while servicemembers may earn income near parity with their non-veteran peers, they face significant challenges in maintaining dual income households. Similarly, homeownership is much lower among active duty servicemembers and below the American average. A decline in veteran wealth places strains on intergenerational transfers, which may be especially challenging for legacy servicemembers. The literature suggests servicemembers, like most Americans, struggle with financial literacy but seek professional guidance at higher rates than the national average. Recent retirement changes within the Department of Defense (DOD) present opportunities for behaviorally informed savings programs. Finally, we consider how locus of control influences veteran wealth outcomes.Finally, our third chapter examines the impact of changing DOD presence on median wages by gender and on occupational crowding. We focus on the implementation of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). We use the American Communities Survey data linking BRAC actions to county economic outcomes of interest. Our findings indicate heterogeneous impacts on wages by gender resulting from BRAC shocks, primarily associated with military personnel shocks. We find military personnel shocks also significantly affects the wage gap between men and women. However, we find little support for changes in DOD presence materially impacting occupational crowding.


The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the US Air Force, Department of Defense, or the US Government.

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