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The Impact of Education on Wages: Analysis of an Education Reform in Turkey

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  • Leyla Mocan

    () (Federal Reserve Board of Governors)

Abstract

In 1997 Turkey passed a law making middle school completion compulsory, increasing the mandatory education from 5 to 8 years. At the time of this policy change, only 3-in-5 students were completing middle school in Turkey. In this paper, I employ data from the 2011 and 2012 Turkish Household Labor Force Survey to investigate the effect of this law on educational attainment, the impact of the increase in education on wages, and to explore how this varied across individuals. The results indicate that the fraction of children completing middle school increased more than 20 percentage points as a result of this reform. The effects were especially pronounced for girls (particularly those living in rural areas): I estimate that as a result of the reform, an additional half a million girls attained a middle school diploma. There are also considerable spillover effects into high school completion rates. Despite the large policy-induced increase in educational attainment, I find little evidence of a corresponding increase in labor force participation or full-time work. The results suggest large wage gains of about 14 percent per year of schooling, with these benefits concentrated among females. Taken together, the findings demonstrate that the policy change induced a dramatic change in educational attainment among the youth of this predominantly Muslim developing country, but that the economic benefits of the change were limited to women.

Suggested Citation

  • Leyla Mocan, 2014. "The Impact of Education on Wages: Analysis of an Education Reform in Turkey," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1424, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  • Handle: RePEc:koc:wpaper:1424
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    File URL: http://eaf.ku.edu.tr/sites/eaf.ku.edu.tr/files/erf_wp_1424.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Bahadir Dursun & Resul Cesur & Inas Rashad Kelly, 2017. "The Value of Mandating Maternal Education in a Developing Country," NBER Working Papers 23492, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. 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.
    3. repec:spr:jlabre:v:39:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s12122-018-9264-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Mocan, Naci & Pogorelova, Luiza, 2014. "Compulsory Schooling Laws and Formation of Beliefs: Education, Religion and Superstition," IZA Discussion Papers 8698, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Naci Mocan & Luiza Pogorelova, 2014. "Compulsory Schooling Laws and Formation of Beliefs: Education, Religion and Superstition," NBER Working Papers 20557, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Resul Cesur & Bahadir Dursun & Naci Mocan, 2014. "The Impact of Education on Health and Health Behavior in a Middle-Income, Low-Education Country," NBER Working Papers 20764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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