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Econ Seminar: Murat Güray Kırdar (Boğaziçi University)

Murat Güray Kırdar from Boğaziçi University will present his papers entitled "Child Growth and Refugee Status: Evidence from Syrian Migrants in Turkey" and “Intergenerational Power Shift and the Rise of Non-arranged Marriages among Refugees” on Wednesday, 23rd of November at 11.45. The seminar will be in seminar room FASS 2054, but will be also available online at 

Child Growth and Refugee Status: Evidence from Syrian Migrants in Turkey  

Although extensive literature exists on child health gaps between natives and economic migrants, we know much less about the gaps between natives and forcibly displaced individuals, whose worldwide number has doubled since 2011. Turkey hosts the largest refugee population in the world. This study aims to understand the differences between native and Syrian-refugee children in birthweight and anthropometric outcomes—which are shown to have adverse short- and long-term effects on health and productivity. For this purpose, we use the 2018 Turkish Demographic and Health Survey, which includes representative samples of natives and refugees. After controlling for a rich set of birth and socioeconomic characteristics that display significant variation between natives and refugees born in Turkey, refugee babies’ average birthweight and age-adjusted height are 0.17 and 0.23 standard deviations lower, respectively; however, no gap remains in their age-adjusted weight. These gaps are even larger for refugee babies born outside Turkey. The differences in birthweight and anthropometric outcomes are limited to the lower end of the distribution. After accounting for the covariates, refugee babies born in Turkey are 4.8 percentage points more likely to have low birthweight, 2.4 percentage points more likely to be underweight, and 6.0 percentage points more likely to be stunted. However, no native-refugee gap exists above the mean level for any of the outcomes. We also examine the native-refugee differences in health behavior regarding prenatal and postnatal care, vaccination, breastfeeding, and nutrition and whether these differences can further explain the remaining gaps in birthweight and anthropometric outcomes.

Intergenerational Power Shift and the Rise of Non-arranged Marriages among Refugees

This study examines how the marriage outcomes of Syrian female refugees in Turkey have changed after their arrival in Turkey using the 2018 Turkish Demographic and Health Survey. We find that refugee women’s marriage hazard rates between ages 10 and 25 have increased. This finding is consistent with falling parental wealth and labor income after the Syrian war and the falling opportunity cost of women’s marriage in the form of lower schooling and employment levels. In addition, we find that non-arranged marriages have increased disproportionately more than arranged marriages among refugee women aged 15 to 25. This result aligns with a shift of the bargaining power from parents to children—resulting from lower parental wealth and higher employment rates for Syrian youth but lower employment rates for their parents in Turkey than in pre-war Syria. Furthermore, we report that the relative rise in non-arranged marriages is higher for the Syrian subgroups for which this intergenerational employment shift, in favor of the youth, is stronger.

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