Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Prabal K. De

Committee Members

Michael Grossman

Miles Corak

Subject Categories

Growth and Development | Health Economics | Labor Economics


Compulsory schooling, Education, Regression discontinuity, Intergenerational mobility, Economic development, Turkey


This dissertation consists of two chapters that cover Education, Labor and Health Economics.

Chapter 1. Impacts of Compulsory Schooling Reform on Higher Education and Intergenerational Educational Mobility: we estimate the effects of an exogenous increase in mandatory schooling (5 years to 8 years of schooling), as a result of a change in compulsory schooling law, on higher education, potential intergenerational educational mobility, and labor market outcomes among women in Turkey. Our empirical strategy addresses a well-known identification problem where women’s years of schooling are endogenous to individual characteristics. The Law took effect in 1997, whereby girls born before January 01, 1987, were allowed to drop out after primary school, while girls born after that date were required to stay in school for at least three more years. This created a natural experiment that we empirically capture by a Regression Discontinuity Design. We use data from the latest round of the Turkish Demographic Health Survey conducted in 2013, allowing us to compare cohorts of college-age women. We find that the benefits of compulsory schooling laws may be magnified as women covered by the law attended not only junior high school but also high school and beyond at a higher rate. We also find evidence of upward intergenerational education mobility, as those women also achieved higher levels of education compared to their mothers. However, we find little evidence that additional years of schooling affects labor force participation in significant ways, though it increases the likelihood of getting a paid job or one with benefits.

Chapter 2. The Effects of Compulsory Schooling Law on Reproductive Health Behavior in Turkey: I exploit a change in compulsory schooling to estimate reproductive health behavior by using the Turkish Demographic and Health Survey 2013. The reproductive health behavior comprises of pregnancy behaviors, namely the number of antenatal visits, birth weight, an examination from a professional/a non-professional, and preferences for reproductivity namely contraceptive usage, number of desired children, preference of children gender (boy vs. girl). The law came into the force in 1997 resulted in individual born before January 01, 1987, were allowed to drop out after primary school (5 years of schooling), while individual born after January 01, 1987, were required to get junior high school at least (8 years of education). Thus, this natural experiment allows me to find out the effect of meaningful casual estimates of schooling by implementing Regression Discontinuity (RD) design. The results indicate that an increase in mother’s education improves their sensitivity to pregnancy behavior, as measured by antenatal visits, an examination from a professional. Moreover, an increase in years of mother’s education changes her preferences for reproductivity, as shown by contraceptive usage, number of desired children. On the other hand, the results of the law indicate that there is not any significant effect on birth weight or preference for having boys/girls.