Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Policy

First Advisor

Alan Clayton-Matthews

Second Advisor

Donna Haig Friedman

Third Advisor

Ramón Borges-Mendéz


An increasingly challenging phenomenon for both developing and advanced economies, the negative consequences of long-lasting youth unemployment both at the individual and the societal level are well established. The volatility of local economies in an era of recurrent global economic crisis may have solidified the disadvantaged status of young people within the larger economies. Understanding youth labor outcomes in developing countries may offer new perspectives for policy makers as well as help to unmask chronic problems in our economic systems and give direction to further studies concerning the youth labor market.

One might expect that declines in the size of the youth cohort observed in the past two decades would have contributed positively to labor outcomes of youth in developing countries. Panel fixed-effects regression analyses covering a span of the last 22 years in 18 economically advanced and 23 developing countries were conducted to test the impact of changes in the size of the youth cohort on youth employment and unemployment controlling for macroeconomic conditions. A second question this study focused on concerns the impact of individual supply factors on youth outcomes in Turkey. The roles of human capital factors such as education and of family factors such as parent and sibling characteristics related to social capital were tested using micro data from the Turkish Household Labor Force Survey and hierarchical modeling. The study also tested the impact of the structural characteristics of regions.

Analysis of time series data across countries illustrated that relative cohort size had no impact on youth labor market outcomes controlling for other factors, in contrast to the findings of earlier studies. Results of the micro-level analysis illustrated the varying impact of education, the significance of the role of both parents and siblings and the distinct nature of family dynamics in rural versus urban contexts and across genders. Both micro and macro analysis indicated that with the structural changes taking place in developing economies today coupled with their context-specific features, youth unemployment is both a problem in its own right and signifies a problem larger than itself.