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Welfare and Social Policy Analytical and Advisory Work

Available in: Türkçe

From the Marmara earthquake and the 2001 financial crisis to the onset of the global economic slowdown in mid-2008, Turkey recorded major social and human development progress.  Under-five mortality rates continued their remarkable, decade-long decline, reaching 23.9 (per thousand live births) in 2008.  Net enrolment rates in secondary school, often characterized as the Achilles heel of human development in the country, climbed steeply from 51 percent (2002) to 59 percent (2008).  Similarly, poverty had decreased from 27 percent in 2002 to 19 percent in 2007 – and further decreases have likely materialized until mid-2008.  Such poverty reduction was achieved not only through the strong growth performance of the economy but also due to a marked reduction in inequality in society: between 2003 and 2006, consumption inequality declined by more than ten percent.  The expansion and good targeting of social safety net programs like the Green Card program (increasing from around 2 million people in 2003 to over 9 million today) and the Conditional Cash Transfer Program (CCT) have built and protected human capital of the poor.

Despite these significant achievements, there are a number of remaining challenges that prevent Turkey from fully reaching its human development potential.  Among these are raising opportunities for its young people and women to work—today, Turkey’s female labor force participation rate, is the lowest in the OECD.  Also, welfare disparities in the country remain large –between regions, between cities and the countryside, and for children from different socio-economic backgrounds.

The Welfare and Social Policy work Program, a joint effort between the Turkish State Planning Organization and the World Bank, set out to examine some of these remaining challenges for Turkish society today.  The work agenda includes the preparation of a number of jointly conceptualized, and in part co-authored, analytical studies on topics ranging from examining the determinants of female labor force participation to analyzing poverty trends, and from examining equity determinants to investigating the link between poverty, employment creation and growth.  Further, the work agenda also comprises an ongoing human development dialogue series where international experts and practitioners share their experiences about social policy reforms with the Turkish Government, academia and civil society ( Questions, suggestions and comments related to Welfare and Social Policy Program are welcome and can be addressed to Elif Yonca Yukseker (

Main Reports:

Background Papers:

Other Related Materials:

  • Yilmaz, H. H., and Emil, F. 2010. "Social Expenditures at Different Levels of Government: Turkey." University of Ankara.
  • Turkey Welfare Monitoring Survey (TWMS) - This survey collected data from households in five major city centers (Adana, Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir and Kocaeli) in two rounds to analyze the impact of the crisis on households in these cities. The data is publically accessible and please write to Elif Yukseker ( 

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