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The Effect of Compulsory Schooling Laws on Teenage Marriage and Births in Turkey

By Murat Kirdar, Meltem Dayioglu and Ismet Koc


This paper estimates the impact of the extension of compulsory schooling in Turkey from 5 to 8 years—which increased the 8th grade completion rate for women by 30 percentage points—on marriage and birth outcomes of teenage women in Turkey. We find that increased compulsory schooling years reduce the probability of teenage marriage and births for women substantially, and these effects persist well beyond the new compulsory schooling years: the probability of marriage by age 18 falls by more than 4 percentage points and the probability of giving birth by age 19 falls by more than 4.5 percentage points for the earliest cohorts affected by the policy. In addition, the new policy increases the time to first-birth after marriage. We find conclusive evidence that longer compulsory schooling years have human capital effects on the time to first-birth, as well as incarcertation effects on teenage marriage; there is also suggestive evidence for human capital effects on teenage marriage.

Topics: J13 - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth, I21 - Analysis of Education, I28 - Government Policy, J12 - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse, D10 - General
Year: 2012
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