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

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  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Djavad Salehi-Isfahani & Insan Tunali & Ragui Assaad, 2009. "A Comparative Study Of Returns To Education Of Urban Men In Egypt, Iran, And Turkey," Middle East Development Journal (MEDJ), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 1(02), pages 145-187.
  • Handle: RePEc:wsi:medjxx:v:01:y:2009:i:02:n:s1793812009000085
    DOI: 10.1142/S1793812009000085
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Harry Anthony Patrinos & George Psacharopoulos & Aysit Tansel, 2019. "GLOBALISATION AND GOVERNANCE: Returns to Investment in Education: The Case of Turkey," ERC Working Papers 1903, ERC - Economic Research Center, Middle East Technical University, revised Mar 2019.
    2. Ibrahim, Solava, 2021. "The dynamics of the Egyptian social contract: How the political changes affected the poor," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 138(C).
    3. Djavad Salehi-Isfahani & Sara Taghvatalab, 2019. "Education and the allocation of time of married women in Iran," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 889-921, September.
    4. Celeste K. Carruthers & Christopher Jepsen, 2020. "Vocational Education: An International Perspective," CESifo Working Paper Series 8718, CESifo.
    5. Ragui Assaad & Miquel Pellicer & Caroline Krafft & Colette Salemi, 2002. "Grievances or Skills? The Effect of Education on Youth Attitudes and Political Participation in Egypt and Tunisia," Working Papers 1103, Economic Research Forum, revised 01 Jun 2002.
    6. Harry Anthony Patrinos & George Psacharopoulos & Aysit Tansel, 2019. "Returns to Investment in Education: The Case of Turkey," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1906, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
    7. Abdurrahman Aydemir & Murat G. Kirdar, 2017. "Low Wage Returns to Schooling in a Developing Country: Evidence from a Major Policy Reform in Turkey," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 79(6), pages 1046-1086, December.
    8. Harry Anthony Patrinos & George Psacharopoulos & Aysit Tansel, 2019. "Returns to Investment in Education: The Case of Turkey," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1906, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.

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