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"For the love or the Republic" Education, Secularism, and Empowerment

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  • Selim Gulesci
  • Erik Meyersson
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    Abstract

    We exploit a change in compulsory schooling laws in Turkey to estimate the causal effects of education on religiosity and women's socio-economic status. A new law, implemented in 1998 bound individuals born after a specific date to 8 years of schooling while those born earlier could drop out after 5 years. This allows the implementation of a Regression Discontinuity (RD) Design and the estimation of meaningful causal estimates of schooling. Using the 2008 Turkish Demographic Health Survey, we show that the reform resulted in a one-year increase in years of schooling among women on average, although it did not increase schooling among men. Over a period of ten years, this education increase resulted in women having lower religiosity, greater decision rights over marriage and fertility, and higher household wealth. We find that a muted average RD effect on labor force participation shrouds heterogenous effects depending on socioeconomic background; women from more socially conservative backgrounds tend to obser ve no increase in labor force participation whereas women from less conservative backgrounds experience a large increase. Education thus empowers women across a wide spectrum of a Muslim society, yet faces limits in allowing women in the conservative communities from realizing their full potential through the labor market. JEL Classification: J16, I25, Z12

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 490.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:490

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    1. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
    2. Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Religion and Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 49-72, Spring.
    3. Paul Glewwe & Michael Kremer & Sylvie Moulin, 2007. "Many Children Left Behind? Textbooks and Test Scores in Kenya," NBER Working Papers 13300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Willa Friedman & Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel & Rebecca Thornton, 2011. "Education as Liberation?," NBER Working Papers 16939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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