Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



In this dissertation, I present three distinct essays in economics of education and health economics that can be read independently from one another. These studies investigate the non-pecuniary benefits of extended primary schooling in a developing country setting. I exploit the 1997 education reform in Republic of Turkey, which extended the duration of mandatory schooling from 5 to 8 years, to address the endogeneity of educational attainment levels of individuals. Chapter 2 provides robust evidence in favor of the argument that increasing the duration of mandatory primary education among women who have a low interest in receiving more schooling may have substantial non-pecuniary benefits in terms of the health of their offspring measured by birth weight outcomes and child mortality in developing country setting. In Chapter 3, I examine the impact of mandatory extended primary schooling on happiness of young adults. My analysis reveals that, for females, obtaining at least a middle school degree increases the likelihood of being happy and propensity of being satisfied with various life domains. Descriptive analysis suggests that being hopeful about one’s future plays an important role behind this finding. For the case of males, although relatively imprecisely estimated, I find evidence that obtaining at least a middle school degree leads to a decline in happiness. Auxiliary analysis documents the imbalance between aspirations and attainments may be the reason behind this finding among men. In Chapter 4, I examine the impact of extended primary schooling on a set of health indicators among young individuals. In this study I document that; extending schooling may impact women and men differentially, and education does not necessarily promote health and health behaviors. More specifically, while increased education increases male body weight indicators (i.e., overweight, obese), it lowers the propensity of being overweight among women. Findings of this study also indicate that while the effect of extending primary schooling on smoking is positive among females, it’s negative for the case of males. Further investigation suggests peer effects, and time use play important roles in explaining these findings.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Mocan, Naci

Included in

Economics Commons