Essays on quasi-experimental studies in labor economics

Öztürk, Ahmet
This dissertation consists of two empirical papers that explore the causal relationship between education and labor market outcomes in Turkey based on quasi-experimental methods. The instrumental variable strategy has the potential to accurately estimate the true rate of return to schooling, but good instruments are hard to find. In the first essay of the thesis, I develop a new instrument from an unexpected decline in graduates and new admissions in post-secondary education from the student protests in the late 1970s and the coup in 1980. Using the 2005 Turkish Household Labor Force Survey, my instrumental variables estimates suggest that the economic return to an additional year of schooling in Turkey ranges between 11.6-12.8 percent for men. Moreover, I find that the decline in educational attainment due to student protests shifted the affected population from high-income occupations toward low-income ones. In the second essay, I examine the spillover effect of a large-scale primary school construction program (as part of the 1997 compulsory schooling law) on high school attainment and labor force participation using the 2011 Population and Housing Census. I employ a difference-in-differences strategy exploiting provincial differences in the intensity of construction program and the variation in exposure across birth cohorts induced by the timing of the program. The estimates suggest that the construction program increased the high school attainment rate by 2.1-2.4 percentage points for men and by 2.3-2.5 percentage points for women. While the program had no significant effects for the male labor force participation, it led to a 2.2-2.6 percentage point rise for the female labor force participation. 
Citation Formats
A. Öztürk, “Essays on quasi-experimental studies in labor economics,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2017.