Women's Tertiary Education Masks the Gender Wage Gap in Turkey

Tekguc H., Eryar D., CİNDOĞLU D.

JOURNAL OF LABOR RESEARCH, vol.38, no.3, pp.360-386, 2017 (SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 38 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s12122-017-9243-x
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.360-386
  • Abdullah Gül University Affiliated: Yes


This paper investigates the gender wage gap for full-time formal sector employees, disaggregated by education level. The gap between the labor force participation rate of women with tertiary education and those with lower levels of education is substantial. There is no such gap for men. Hence, existing gender wage gap studies for Turkey, where we observe lopsided labor force participation rates by education levels, compare two very different populations. We disaggregate the whole sample by education level to create more homogenous sub-groups. For Turkey, without disaggregation, the gender wage gap was 13% in 2011, and women are significantly over-qualified relative to men on observed characteristics. Once we disaggregate the sample by education level, we show that the gender wage gap is 24% for less educated women and 9% for women with tertiary education in full-time formal employment. Observed characteristics only explain 1 % of this gap in absolute terms. We further disaggregate the data by public and private employment. The gender gap is higher in the private sector. However, women with tertiary education in the public sector are significantly better qualified compared to men, and consequently the adjusted gender wage gap is higher for women with tertiary education in the public sector. Our estimates also indicate a rise in the gender wage gap between 2004 and 2011.