31/03/2016 15:00
  Among all Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, Turkey has by far the lowest rate of access to early childhood care and preschool education (ECCPE) services. Not coincidentally, Turkey also has the OECD's lowest labor force participation rate for working-age women (15–64), at 33.6 percent—almost half the OECD average. For most mothers in Turkey, foregoing paid labor is dictated by a simple cost-benefit analysis: the potential monetary gains from paid work are much lower than the cost of buying market substitutes to replace household and care work. This is partly a function of Turkey's underinvestment in ECCPE services—the government spends just 0.18 percent of GDP on early child care and pre-school, compared to an OECD average of 0.8 percent. Underinvestment in social care thus takes its toll on the country's long-term economic potential, not only through weakened labor force attachment but also in diminished childhood development and the persistence of socio-economic inequalities at an early age. What is less well known is that expanding ECCPE services would also produce considerable short-term demand side economic benefits, in terms of employment creation, remediation of gender inequality through enhanced labor demand effects, and poverty reduction. We use a combination of input-output analysis and microsimulation with household income and living conditions survey data, to measure the effects of raising Turkey's early child care and preschool enrollment rate to the OECD average through a publicly funded expansion of ECCPE and compare the results to the same expenditure on physical infrastructure (construction) projects. 

The results indicate that spending on social care infrastructure (i.e. ECCPE) generates two-and-half times more direct and indirect jobs than spending of similar magnitude on physical infrastructure; as much as 84% of these jobs have permanent contracts under social security coverage (vs. only 30% in the case of construction); 72% of the jobs go to women (vs. only 6% in the case of construction) and targeted social care infrastructure spending has the potential to decrease relative poverty by 1.14 percentage points (vs. 0.35 percentage points in the case of construction). We conclude that prioritizing public spending on social care, and on ECCPE in particular, should be a central part of an inclusive growth agenda for Turkey not only in terms of its better-known supply side effects on labor force participation and human capital, but also its demand side effects on jobs generation and income distribution. This research study, a collaborative initiative by Istanbul Technical University Women's Studies Center and the Levy Economics Institute New York, is funded by UNDP and UN Women Regional Offices for Europe and CIS, UNDP and ILO Turkey Offices and the Aydın Doğan Foundation.

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  31.03.2016, 15:00, John Freely Seminar Room (Albert Long Hall / BTS)