Three essays on the effects of education policies on education and labor market outcomes in Turkey

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Bilkent University
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This thesis consists of three essays on the effects of two education policies on education and labor market outcomes in Turkey. The first essay examines the causal effects of the drastic expansion in Turkish higher education, which occurred in 2006-2008 with the establishment of new universities and increasing the educational opportunities both in the new and established universities, on the educational attainment disadvantage of women in higher education. The expansion increases the attainment rates of both genders but does not significantly reduce the gender gap after controlling for the time trends. Studying the mechanisms shows that the expansion in social sciences, which constitutes more than half of the additional slots, benefited men and women evenly; but the expansion in engineering, about 25% of additional slots, benefited men more. The second essay investigates the causal impact of the same expansion policy in higher education on college wage premium in Turkey. The expansion increases the share of college graduates significantly and decreases the college wage premium for young men exposed to the policy. The expansion has lower but significant adverse effects on older age groups, whose human capital accumulation is not affected by the expansion policy. This result provides causal evidence that the increase in the supply of skilled workers reduces the wage advantages enjoyed by these workers. The third essay analyzes the impact of extending mandatory years of schooling from 5 to 8 years in 1997 on the gender gap in intergenerational educational persistence. Prior to the reform, there was a gender gap in the association of parents’ educational attainment with their offspring’s. Daughters’ educational attainment is more dependent on their parents’ educational background. The education reform reduces the impact of parental education on the completion of new compulsory schooling (8 years) and post-compulsory schooling (high school) for both sons and daughters. The gender gap in intergenerational education transmission decreases in the completion of new compulsory schooling level but remains unchanged at the post-compulsory schooling level after the reform.

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Education reform, Difference-in-differences, Gender equality, Intergenerational education transmission, Compulsory schooling, Turkey
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