« Back to Results

Education and Youth

Paper Session

Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Marriott Philadelphia Downtown, Meeting Room 409
Hosted By: Middle East Economic Association
  • Chair: Mahdi Majbouri, Babson College

Eliminating Supply: A Natural Experiment in Higher Education

Mahdi Majbouri
Babson College


A fundamental problem in education policy is how much educational outcomes are affected by government interventions on the supply side of the market. This paper is a response to this policy debate using a natural experiment setting in one of the most under-studied countries, Iran. It measures the effect of Iranian Cultural Revolution during which institutions of higher education were closed and supply of higher education was completely eliminated for 30 months. Using a regression discontinuity design, this paper documents the causal effect of this temporary elimination of supply of higher education on college attainment rates of affected cohorts. The results show that there is a small impact on men’s college attainment rate (about 10% or 1.5 percentage points) and no evidence of impact on women’s. This corroborates the Neo-classical argument that government interventions have little impact on educational outcomes when demand for education is high. It has important implications for higher education policy in both developing and developed countries. The Cultural Revolution is then used as an instrument to estimate return to college education for men.

Intergenerational Education Mobility Between and Within Vulnerable Groups in Turkey

Alpay Filiztekin
Sabanci University
Ozan Bakis
Bahcesehir University


We study how intergenerational education mobility among vulnerable groups differ from main groups in Turkey. In particular, we compare Kurds with Turks, Alawi muslims with Sunni muslims, and finally males with females. Using both conventional mobility measures (intergenerational elasticity obtained through basic OLS) and alternative mobility measures (Altham index and UniDiff models) we find that vulnerable groups differ significantly from non-vulnerable ones.

Youth Vulnerability in the MENA Region: Dimensions and Determinants

Shireen Alazzawi
Santa Clara University
Vladimir Hlasny
Ewha Womans University


Vulnerable youth are those “not having certain of their basic rights fulfilled” (Skinner et al. 2006), be it material, emotional or social needs (Arora et al. 2015). In Amartya Sen’s framework, vulnerabilities represent inadequate capabilities that do not permit young individuals to realize themselves in terms of their “functionings” – or the freedom to choose (Ward 2014). Vulnerabilities may emerge as part of key transitions experienced by most young people, such as those linked to educational attainment, labor-market entry, change in social network, and parenthood (Hargrove et al. 2014). Vulnerabilities also result from entrenched social marginalization and the multiple dimensions of poverty, and can then persist over the life course of young people and even be transmitted across generations (Hardgrove 2014). In this paper we investigate individuals’ transitions into and out of various states of deprivation, distinguishing between monetary and nonmonetary dimensions. As far as we know, this is the only study evaluating the extent of mobility across multiple dimensions of socio-economic vulnerability among MENA youth. To this end we use advanced statistical techniques including panel-data methods, unconditional quantile regressions, dynamic principal component analysis, and instrumental variable estimation including that in a regression discontinuity framework. We account for factors that have rarely been used in previous studies including a continuous index of job quality (an outcome), wealth indexes of productive vs. non-productive assets (circumstances), workers’ career events such as migration, and local labor-market regulations and fiscal redistribution.

Schooling Choices Responses to Labor Market Shock: Evidence From A Natural Experiment

Belal Fallah
Palestine Polytechnic University
Ayhab Saad
Doha Institute for Graduate Studies


This paper uses the closure of Israeli labor market for Palestinian workers in the Second Intifada to provide a causal estimate of the effect of a large shock in labor market on educational choices for Palestinian youths. In the eve of the Second Intifada, the share of Palestinians workers, mostly unskilled, in Israel dropped from 25% to 5% in 2001 and reached 12% in 2006. Our identification strategy is based on the heterogeneous share of commuters to Israel by locality pre the second Intifada. We find that the closure of Israeli market has decreased the dropout probability for males aged between 16 and 21 year- olds but not for females. We show that the prospect of being employed could be a leading mechanism linking the closure of Israeli labor market to the educational choices of Palestinian youth.
JEL Classifications
  • I0 - General