Our Graduate Awarded First Prize in the 2022 PhD Dissertation Awards of the Turkish Economic Association5 MONTH(S) AGO
Holding seminars, symposiums, and conferences; giving free scholarships to successful students and organizing awards competitions among young economists, Turkish Economic Association, the roots of which date back to 1920s, contributes to the development of economic research in Turkey.
Mustafa Utku Özmen, a graduate of the Doctorate Program of TOBB ETÜ Department of Economics has been awarded first prize in the2022 PhD Dissertation Awards of the Turkish Economic Association with his doctoral dissertation titled "Articles on Child Labour".
We congratulate our graduate and his advisors Prof. Dr. İsmail Sağlam and Assist. Prof. Dr. Belgi Turan.
This thesis investigates the impact of different policies on child labor. To this aim, the thesis first provides an overview of the definitions and the global outlook of child labor and discusses the recent policy agenda in the fight against child labor. The thesis then presents the conceptual framework guiding the thesis and a review of related literature, followed by three empirical chapters. The first empirical chapter evaluates the impact of the extension of compulsory schooling from 8 to 12 years in Turkey on child labor. The chapter uses data from the Child Labor Force Survey (CLS) and relies on a difference-in-difference methodology for identification. Comparing the labor market outcomes of children from different age groups and exploiting their exposure to the old or the new compulsory schooling policy, the chapter finds that being subject to higher years of compulsory schooling reduces the probability of working longer hours per week. The policy also reduces the probability of working in certain types of jobs and in specific sectors for different groups of children. The second empirical chapter investigates the effect of the increase in the minimum wage on the prevalence of child labor in Turkey. Using data from the CLS over a period where the real minimum wage has increased substantially, the chapter compares the labor market outcomes of children from minimum wage-earning families with children from other families before and after the hike in the minimum wage. The chapter finds that the increase in the minimum wage leads to a reduction in the probability of employment of children younger than 15, especially girls, and the probability of working longer hours for children older than 14, primarily boys. The third empirical chapter evaluates the impact of compulsory schooling policy on child labor in Low-and-Middle-Income countries (LMIC) by integrating the mediating role of the structural factors into the analysis. This chapter uses data from the Multi Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) provided by UNICEF. Focusing on a sample of 14 countries that have increased the years of compulsory schooling over the last two decades, the chapter finds that children who are subject to higher years of compulsory education are less likely to work. The chapter also shows that a suite of structural factors ranging from demographics to education infrastructure, from governance to labor market dynamics, from income inequality to the role of women in society, influence the effectiveness of compulsory schooling policy in reducing child labor. Overall, the thesis provides evidence from Turkey on the impact of household income policies -the minimum wage-, and education policies -the compulsory schooling- on the prevalence of child labor, where the results of the previous empirical literature suggest that the impact could substantially be context-dependent. The findings are also in line with the literature as the estimated impacts are heterogenous for children across age groups, gender, and household characteristics. Moreover, the thesis provides a cross-country causal investigation of the impact of compulsory schooling on child labor in LMICs, integrating the role of structural factors, which has not been addressed previously. The thesis ends with discussing the policy implications and the potential extensions of the theoretical model of child labor supply.