Measuring Returns to Education in Turkey
In: Proceedings of the Conference on Human and Economic Resources
The purpose of this paper is to examine the returns to individually acquired education in Turkey. In contrast to the traditional neo-classical growth theory models, technological progress is embedded within the new endogenous growth models emphasising the endogenous determination of growth process. Thus, human capital stock is incorporated as an endogenous determinant of growth rate into the model that is highly associating the human capital accumulation with the innovative capacity and productivity. With the development of human capital theory, the educational level of the population as one of the key determinants in economic growth, is considered to be affected by the returns to education. The key relationship for the estimation of returns to education was derived by Mincer (Mincer, 1974). Since then, the topic has become centre of focus, and a large number of studies have estimated returns to education. One of the most comprehensive surveys by Psacharopoulos covers the cross – country returns to education estimations for 60 countries, reveals that the developing countries possessed the highest return to an additional year of schooling (1994). Recent country specific studies, on the other hand, while providing evidence on the decreasing returns to education in Norway (Haegeland et. al. 1999), and Austria ( ), empirical findings for China (Heckman & Li, 2003), and Italy (Brunello et. al., 2000) suggest increasing returns to education. Furthermore, returns to education estimations reveal heterogenous results varying accordingly with the degree programmes and gender in Britain (Sloane & O’Leary, 2004), and West Germany (Lauer & Steiner, 2000). Despite the huge literature on the estimation of returns to education in terms of both cross – country and country specific analysis, studies concerning Turkish case remain limited (Tansel, 1994, 1999). This paper aims to make an update contribution to the literature in Turkey. Role of the educational level (primary, secondary, and higher education) in explaining earnings dispersion is analysed by estimating standard Mincerian equation, and using a national level household budget survey data. Estimating earnings equations for 1994 and 2003, preliminary findings demonstrate that returns to education have been instable and changing across the different sectors of the economy. Even though the education has been an important determinant of wage dispersion in Turkey, the findings reveal substantial heterogeneity in returns to different educational levels.
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