Comparative Analysis of Poverty and Inequality in Turkey

Burcu Yakut Çakar
Marmara University the Graduate Program in Economics
Graduation Date: 
Fatma Doğruel
Comparative Analysis of Poverty and Inequality in Turkey

Welfare regimes have been challenged in the last couple of decades and a set of policy reforms were introduced to overcome those risks. The welfare transformations taking place in this regard though varied in comparative contexts, took place in the realm of less mature component of the welfare regime, namely social assistance, in southern Europe where the prevalence of poverty and inequality were substantial-sharing common traits with Turkey. Against this background, this dissertation aims to provide a new framework for comparative discussion of poverty and inequality in Turkey by utilizing two levels of analysis, one at the quantitative and other at the qualitative level with a focus on the social assistance component. The quantitative analysis is based on constructing a national-tax  benefit model for Turkey, TR-MOD while utilizing cross-country integrated model EUROMOD for the comparative analysis for southern Europe (Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal). By focusing on the political economy of the recent policy transformations and debates taking place in the region, qualitative analysis aims to shed some light on the prospective policy agenda in social assistance in Turkey. Based on the 2004 Household Budget Survey Data and 2004 tax-benefit system, results from TR-MOD demonstrate the peculiarities of the tax and benefit systems in Turkey through the distribution of income across deciles of the population and those facing the risk of poverty seperately. In addition to that, debates on minimum schemes in Turkey reflect that parameters of reform are bounded by internal dynamics which dominate over impact of external actors.