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Explaining Ethnic Disparities in School Enrollment in Turkey

Kırdar, Murat Güray
There exist remarkable differences in educational outcomes across ethnic groups in Turkey. Moreover, almost a quarter of the population of 8‐ to 15‐year‐old children belongs to ethnic minority groups. Yet, there exists no study that examines the ethnic disparities in educational outcomes in Turkey. This study presents these disparities and uncovers the factors that bring about these disparities, using a rich microlevel data set (Turkish Demographic and Health Survey). In doing so, this article examines the differences not only in the levels of enrollment but also in the timing of dropout across ethnic groups. The multivariate analysis accounts for a rich set of regional and socioeconomic factors, which also display striking differences across ethnic groups. The results show that regional and family‐level characteristics can fully account for the differences in the levels of enrollment across ethnic groups for male children, but not fully for female children. In other words, ethnicity has a direct impact on girls’ school enrollment but not on boys’. There exists a gender gap among ethnic Turkish children as well as ethnic Arabic and Kurdish children. However, the gender gap among ethnic Kurdish children is wider than that among ethnic Turkish children.