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The Making of a Lost Generation: Child Labor among Syrian Refugees in Turkey

Author

Listed:
  • Meltem Dayioglu

    (Department of Economics, Middle East Technical University)

  • Murat Guray Kirdar

    (Department of Economics, Boğaziçi University)

  • Ismet Koc

    (Institute of Population Studies, Hacettepe University)

Abstract

Millions of children are forcibly displaced around the world, making child labor a serious risk. However, little is known about this topic due to the difficulty of finding representative datasets for this population and information on child labor. In this study, we use a representative dataset on Syrian refugees in Turkey, the largest refugee group in any single country, to examine the incidence of child labor and its determinants. The incidence of paid work is remarkably high among boys: 17.4% of 12-14 year-olds and 45.1% of 15-17 year-olds are in paid employment. We find that paid work is positively associated with poverty, proficiency in Turkish, living in an industrialized region in Turkey, originating from rural areas in Syria and living in a household with a young, female, or less-educated head. Family composition matters more for girls’ employment than boys’. Boys’ (girls’) employment increases if their father (mother) is alive – suggesting network effects. Being older at arrival is highly associated with child labor, indicating that difficulty with school integration drives children into employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Meltem Dayioglu & Murat Guray Kirdar & Ismet Koc, 2021. "The Making of a Lost Generation: Child Labor among Syrian Refugees in Turkey," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 2105, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  • Handle: RePEc:koc:wpaper:2105
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    child labor; forced displacement; Syrian refugees; paid work; migrants; Turkey.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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