Compulsory Schooling and Early Labor Market Outcomes in a Middle-Income Country
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The 1997 reform in Turkey which extended compulsory schooling from 5 to 8 years provides an opportunity to estimate the returns to schooling in a middle-income country. The availability of a rich set of early labor market variables also provides an opportunity to assess mechanisms through which returns to schooling occur. I find quite small effects of compulsory schooling on earnings of men but large positive effects on earnings of women who work, without raising their overall low rate of labor force participation. In terms of mechanisms, I find that women who worked moved into higher skill and formal sector jobs, which involved more complicated tasks on average.
KeywordsReturns to education Compulsory schooling Occupational choice
JEL ClassificationI21 J24 J31
I would like to thank to Sarah Turner, Leora Friedberg, and John Pepper. I also thank seminar participants at the University of Virginia and Southern Economic Association Conference. I am grateful to the editor and two anonymous referees for very useful suggestions and careful reading. I am also grateful to the University of Virginia’s Bankard Fund for financial support and the staff in the Labor Force Statistics Department of Turkish Statistical Institute for providing the supplementary data for Household Labor Force Survey.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
I have no potential conflict of interest that relate to the research described in this paper. Also the views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey.
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