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More on desperate housewives of Turkey

Just a small addendum to Monday’s Hurriyet Daily News colum/blog post:

First of all, Alyson Neel of Today’s Zaman picked up on the “war of the think tanks” theme as well in an article where she mentioned the contradictions between the TEPAV and BETAM reports. The BETAM number from January 2012 mentioned in the article was actually the January 2005 figure, a typo that has since been corrected- there is an updated version of the Neel’s article on TZ’s web site, where she explains this.

In fact, the difference between the two think-tanks stems entirely from the time period they are considering. TEPAV looks at the past year, whereas BETAM’s focus is the last several. Employment statistics are notoriously volatile, so I’d opt for the longer run myself, but as I quoted BETAM’s Gokce Uysal in my column, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. Women’s labor force participation is still low. Neel has another piece, which appeared in today’s paper, making this very point.

BTW, TEPAV just published a research note taking on one of the sub-themes in my column: Turkish women join the labor force when there is a crisis. As I noted in the column, this forced-worker phenomenon is an internationally well-documented fact prevalent in countries like Turkey, where women’s LFPR is low. In almost all cases, as soon as the economy improves, women opt out of the labor force. In fact, TEPAV’s  note is titled “Our women only work when they have to”. While I argued in my column, after a phone chat with Dr. Uysal, that we are not seeing this effect today, TEPAV disagrees. They argue that the half-a-million or so increase in housewives during the last year is stemming exactly from this same factor. Unfortunately, their note in Turkish for now.

Gokce told me she is planning on a note on this in a couple of weeks. So maybe the war of the think-tanks has not ended yet:)…

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