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Measuring Returns to Education in Turkey

In: Proceedings of the Conference on Human and Economic Resources


  • B. Müge Tunaer

    (Dokuz Eylul University)

  • Yaprak Gülcan

    (Dokuz Eylul University)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • B. Müge Tunaer & Yaprak Gülcan, 2006. "Measuring Returns to Education in Turkey," Papers of the Annual IUE-SUNY Cortland Conference in Economics,in: Proceedings of the Conference on Human and Economic Resources, pages 66-71 Izmir University of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:izm:prcdng:200606

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James J. Heckman & Xuesong Li, 2004. "Selection bias, comparative advantage and heterogeneous returns to education: evidence from China in 2000," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(3), pages 155-171, October.
    2. Fersterer, Josef & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 2003. "Are Austrian returns to education falling over time?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 73-89, February.
    3. Haegeland, Torbjorn & Klette, Tor Jakob & Salvanes, Kjell G, 1999. " Declining Returns to Education in Norway? Comparing Estimates across Cohorts, Sectors and Over Time," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(4), pages 555-576, December.
    4. Altonji, Joseph G & Dunn, Thomas A, 1996. "Using Siblings to Estimate the Effect of School Quality on Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 665-671, November.
    5. Tansel, Aysit, 1994. "Wage employment, earnings and returns to schooling for men and women in Turkey," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 305-320.
    6. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters,in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Lauer, Charlotte & Steiner, Viktor, 2000. "Returns to education in West Germany: an empirical assessment," ZEW Discussion Papers 00-04, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    8. Psacharopoulos, George, 1994. "Returns to investment in education: A global update," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(9), pages 1325-1343, September.
    9. Lucifora, Claudio & Comi, Simona & Brunello, Giorgio, 2000. "The Returns to Education in Italy: A New Look at the Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 130, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Nigel C. O’Leary & Peter J. Sloane, 2005. "The Return to a University Education in Great Britain," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 193(1), pages 75-89, July.
    11. Bernhard Boockmann & Viktor Steiner, 2006. "Cohort effects and the returns to education in West Germany," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(10), pages 1135-1152.
    12. James J. Heckman & Xuesong Li, 2003. "Selection Bias, Comparative Advantage and Heterogeneous Returns to Education," NBER Working Papers 9877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. World Bank, 2011. "Turkey - Country Economic Memorandum (CEM) : Sustaining High Growth - The Role of Domestic savings : Synthesis Report," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12264, The World Bank.


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