Learning about Quality: How the Quality of Military Personnel Is Revealed over Time

By James R. Hosek; Michael G. Mattock | Go to book overview

SUMMARY

The traditional measures of enlisted personnel quality are high school diploma graduate (HSDG) status and Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score. These measures are valid predictors of the completion of advanced individual training and of nonattrition; they are available prior to service and so are useful in recruiting. However, because they are entry-level measures, they contain no information about a member's quality as it is revealed “on the job.” The intention of this research is to present and apply a novel method developed by Ward and Tan (1985) that expands the measure of quality to include information about a member's performance as it is revealed through promotions.

To establish a conceptual basis, we present a model of employer learning about employee quality. In our context, “quality” is understood as the quality of the job match between the member and the military. The quality of the match may depend on the member's ability, effort, and taste for the military; it is not a measure of ability alone. The promotion process reveals quality by establishing criteria that apply to all members and by promoting faster those members who are soonest to meet and surpass the criteria. Thus, the member's speed of promotion relative to that of peers is a yardstick of a member's quality. To establish the notion that quality is a persistent characteristic, not just a one-time, random-speed promotion outcome, we present descriptive information showing that members who are faster to pay grade E-4 are also faster to pay grade E-5, holding AFQT score constant.

Our application of the Ward-Tan quality model has three structural equations. The first equation states that quality is a function of AFQT and a member-specific quality factor. The second and third equations state that the E-4 and E-5 promotion-hazard functions depend on quality. A promotion-hazard function indicates the probability of being promoted at time t given that one has not yet been promoted. The functional form allows the promotion-hazard function to shift upward or downward with the level of quality, and we expect higher quality to shift the promotion hazard upward. The higher the promotion-hazard function, the shorter the expected time to promotion. Although we cannot directly observe quality and its individual components, we can estimate the full model by means of the action of quality on the promotion hazards. Using the estimated model, we can compute the expected value of the individual quality component and also compute the member's overall quality. The computation can be done for each member for each month of the first term. Thus, like the AFQT score or the HSDG status, the estimated quality is member-

-xi-

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Learning about Quality: How the Quality of Military Personnel Is Revealed over Time
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures vii
  • Tables ix
  • Summary xi
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • Chapter One - Introduction 1
  • Chapter Two - Previous Studies and Personnel Quality Indicators 5
  • Chapter Three - A Bayesian Model of Service Member Quality 17
  • Chapter Four - Model Implementation 27
  • Chapter Five - Data and Empirical Results 39
  • Chapter Six - Conclusions 55
  • Appendix A - Standardization and Comparison Between Groups 61
  • Appendix B - Analysis Tables 69
  • Appendix C - Parameter Estimates 85
  • Bibliography 107
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