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A Comparative Study Of Returns To Education Of Urban Men In Egypt, Iran, And Turkey

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Author Info

  • DJAVAD SALEHI-ISFAHANI

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA)

  • INSAN TUNALI

    ()
    (Koc University, Department of Economics, Rumelifeneri yalu, Sariyer, Istabbul, Turkey)

  • RAGUI ASSAAD

    ()
    (Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, 301 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis MN 55455, U.S.A.)

Abstract

This paper presents a comparative study of private returns to schooling of urban men in Egypt, Iran, and Turkey using similar survey data and a uniform methodology. We employ three surveys for each country that span nearly two decades, from the 1980s to 2006, and, to increase the comparability of the estimates across surveys, we focus on urban men 20–54 years old and in full time wage and salary employment. Our aim is to learn how the monetary signals of rewards that guide individual decisions to invest in education are shaped by the institutions of education and labor markets in these countries. Our estimates generally support the stylized facts of the institutions of education and labor markets in Middle Eastern countries. Their labor markets have been described as dominated by the public sector and therefore relatively inflexible, and their education systems as more focused on secondary and tertiary degrees than teaching practical and productive skills. Returns in all countries are increasing in years of schooling, which is contrary to the Mincer assumption of linear returns but consistent with overemphasis on secondary and tertiary degrees. Low returns to vocational training relative to general upper secondary, which have been observed in many developing countries, are observed in Egypt and Iran, but not Turkey. This pattern of returns across countries seems to correspond to how students are selected into vocational and general upper secondary tracks, which is an important part of the education institutions of these countries, and the fact that Turkey's economy is more open than the other two. Greater competitiveness in all three countries over time seems to have increased returns to university education and in few cases to vocational education, but not to general high school.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd. in its journal Middle East Development Journal.

Volume (Year): 01 (2009)
Issue (Month): 02 ()
Pages: 145-187

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Handle: RePEc:wsi:medjxx:v:01:y:2009:i:02:p:145-187

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Related research

Keywords: Egypt; Iran; Turkey; returns to education; Mincer equation; labor market institutions; education institutions; labor market flexibility;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Binzel, Christine, 2011. "Decline in Social Mobility: Unfulfilled Aspirations among Egypt's Educated Youth," IZA Discussion Papers 6139, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Aysit Tansel & Yousef Daoud, 2011. "Comparative Essay on Returns to Education in Palestine and Turkey," Working Papers 2011/7, Turkish Economic Association.
  3. Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, 2010. "Human Development in the Middle East and North Africa," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2010-26, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

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