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

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  • Selim Gulesci
  • Erik Meyersson

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

Suggested Citation

  • Selim Gulesci & Erik Meyersson, 2013. ""For the love or the Republic" Education, Secularism, and Empowerment," Working Papers 490, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:490
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Willa Friedman & Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel & Rebecca Thornton, 2016. "Education as Liberation?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 83(329), pages 1-30, January.
    2. Esther Duflo, 2012. "Women Empowerment and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1051-1079, December.
    3. Sylvie Moulin & Michael Kremer & Paul Glewwe, 2009. "Many Children Left Behind? Textbooks and Test Scores in Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 112-135, January.
    4. Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Religion and Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 49-72, Spring.
    5. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-846, July-Aug..
    6. Erica Field & Seema Jayachandran & Rohini Pande, 2010. "Do Traditional Institutions Constrain Female Entrepreneurship? A Field Experiment on Business Training in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 125-129, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Murat G. Kýrdar & Meltem Dayýoglu Tayfur & Ýsmet Koç, 2010. "The Effect of Compulsory Schooling Laws on Teenage Marriage and Births in Turkey," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1035, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
    2. Sriya Iyer, 2016. "The New Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(2), pages 395-441, June.
    3. Bahadır Dursun & Resul Cesur, 2016. "Transforming lives: the impact of compulsory schooling on hope and happiness," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(3), pages 911-956, July.
    4. repec:spr:jopoec:v:31:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s00148-017-0650-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Resul Cesur & Naci H. Mocan, 2013. "Does Secular Education Impact Religiosity, Electoral Participation and the Propensity to Vote for Islamic Parties? Evidence from an Education Reform in a Muslim Country," NBER Working Papers 19769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Rachel Heath & Seema Jayachandran, 2016. "The Causes and Consequences of Increased Female Education and Labor Force Participation in Developing Countries," Working Papers id:11434, eSocialSciences.
    7. K?rdar,Murat G. & Day?o?lu,Meltem & Koç,?smet, 2015. "Does longer compulsory education equalize schooling by gender and rural/urban residence ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7377, The World Bank.
    8. Murat G. Kýrdar & Meltem Dayýoðlu & Ýsmet Koç, 2016. "The Effects of Compulsory Schooling Laws on Teenage Marriage and Births in Turkey," Working Papers 2016/01, Bogazici University, Department of Economics.
    9. Dinçer, Mehmet Alper & Kaushal, Neeraj & Grossman, Michael, 2014. "Women’s Education: Harbinger of Another Spring? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Turkey," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 243-258.
    10. Asena Caner & Cahit Guven & Cagla Okten & Seyhun Orcan Sakalli, 2016. "Gender Roles and the Education Gender Gap in Turkey," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(3), pages 1231-1254, December.
    11. Roth, Christopher & Sumarto, Sudarno, 2015. "Does Education Increase Interethnic and Interreligious Tolerance? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," MPRA Paper 64558, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Ralsmark, Hilda, 2017. "Education, norms, and gender equality," Working Papers in Economics 702, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    13. Ayca Akarcay-Gurbuz & Sezgin Polat, 2015. "The rocky road to post-compulsory education in Turkey: Intergenerational educational mobility," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1510, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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