Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Rush, Christine L.

Committee Member

Breen, Dallas

Committee Member

French, P. Edward

Committee Member

Potter, Michael R.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Complete embargo for 2 years

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Public Policy and Administration

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Political Science and Public Administration


Veterans’ preference policies in government employment, at all levels, have existed for the intention of providing advantages for veterans who consider employment in public service after military service. While the purpose of these policies is well intended for veterans who have served, there exists the potential that this practice can be perceived as an endorsement to hire from a pool of candidates that consists of mostly white males. From a representation standpoint, for women and minority groups, this creates the potential to undo much of the progress that has been made in terms of better representation within the public workforce. However, overall, veterans have experienced a wage premium in the public sector compared to the private, which creates the challenge that veteran employment can have a negative effect on one area of employment equity while maintaining a positive effect in another. Furthermore, external factors, both market-based and employment-based, may influence these effects as well. This research examines how veteran employment has impacted public-private representation among veteran women and minority groups, overall veteran public-private wage gaps, and the explanatory factors that affect veteran hiring and pay variances. Using public use data from the American Community Survey (ACS) 1-year Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) files this research looks to fill in the gap in the literature related to public-private veteran employment representation and wage variances. The findings of this research first indicate that even though veterans are overrepresented in government service, veteran women and minorities have an even higher likelihood of representation in government service compared to the private sector. The explanatory factors that influence this finding are GSP, per capita income, and the unemployment rate, while union membership illustrates mixed results. Second, this research indicates that veterans are paid a wage premium working in the public sector compared to the private sector. The explanatory factors that influence this finding are per capita income, the unemployment rate, and union membership, while GSP does not. The overall contribution of this research builds upon the literature related both the composition and compensation of veterans and the external factors that influence public-private employment equity.



Veterans' Preference||Veteran Employment||Representation||Wages

Available for download on Thursday, December 15, 2022