Down and up the “U” – A synthetic cohort (panel) analysis of female labor force participation in Turkey, 1988–2013

Tunalı İ., Kırdar M. G., DAYIOĞLU TAYFUR M.

World Development, vol.146, 2021 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 146
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2021.105609
  • Journal Name: World Development
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Periodicals Index Online, ABI/INFORM, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, CAB Abstracts, EBSCO Education Source, EconLit, Gender Studies Database, Geobase, Index Islamicus, PAIS International, Political Science Complete, Public Affairs Index, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, Veterinary Science Database, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Keywords: Female labor force participation, U-hypothesis, Synthetic panel, Age-participation profiles, Decomposition of age, year, and cohort effects, APC model, M-shaped profile, Culture, INTRINSIC ESTIMATOR, MARKET PARTICIPATION, ECONOMIC-DEVELOPMENT, MARRIED-WOMEN, PERIOD, AGE, WORK, EMPLOYMENT, FEMINIZATION, EARNINGS
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


© 2021 Elsevier LtdWe study the aggregate labor force participation behavior of women over a 25-year period in Turkey using a synthetic panel approach. In our decomposition of age, year, and cohort effects, we use three APC models that have received close scrutiny of the demography community. The exercise is repeated by rural/urban status and by education to tease out some key differences in behavior. Our comparative methodology yields remarkably consistent profiles for most subsamples, but not all. Notably all methods reveal an M-shaped age profile attributable to child-bearing related interruptions in rural areas and for low-educated women in urban areas. We also find that younger cohorts among the least-educated women are more likely to participate, contrary to the belief that culture stands in the way. The evidence we compiled confirms that Turkey has reached the turning point of the U-shaped pattern in female labor force participation observed in countries where agriculture initially accounts for a large fraction of employment. We dwell on methodological issues throughout the paper and seek explanations for the occasional fragility of the methods. We establish that evolution of the linear trend present in the cross-section age profiles is responsible for the differences in the findings. Despite the apparent inconsistency, the models we use are consistent in recovering the turning points of the age, period, and cohort profiles.