How a change in compulsory attendance law for primary education increased high school enrollment in Turkey

Tolga Yuret, Koc University
Insan Tunali, Koc University

Turkey changed its compulsory attendance law in 1997-1998 academic year. The required level of education increased from five years of primary education to eight years of primary education. After the law change, there is an abrupt increase in the high school enrollment rate. This is despite the fact that the law does not cover high school education. By using the 2003 household budget survey and differences in differences methodology, we find that a typical student is four percent more likely to have high school education if he is subject to the new law. The largest increase in likelihood of having high school education is attained by the group of students who would drop out after completing the first five years of primary education if the law did not change. This can be explained by the maturity effect. After the law change, the students can drop out at age fourteen instead of age eleven. The decisions given when the students are mature prolong their education life beyond the required level.

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Presented in Session 78: Education