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

Murat G. Kırdar, Meltem Dayıoğlu and İsmet Koç

Abstract:
This paper estimates the impact of the extension of compulsory schooling from 5 to 8 years in Turkey—which increased women’s schooling by more than a year—on marriage and birth outcomes of teenage women. We employ a regression discontinuity design, where we compare month-year of birth cohorts of women. The increased compulsory schooling years reduce the probability of teenage marriage by age 16 and first-births by age 17 substantially. However, these effects dissapear after ages 17 and 18 for marriage and first-births, respectively. Our results indicate strong incarceration effects of the policy on marriage and birth outcomes during the newly mandated compulsory schooling years as well as human capital effects on the time to marriage. However, the human capital effects on the probability of being ever-married vanish after a couple of years the students become free to leave school.

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