Abstract for: The Feedback Dynamics between Poverty and Education Opportunity: Vicious Circle of Poverty

Poverty is a persistent problem for most countries, including EU, the United States and developing countries. This study is about the role of education opportunities in the “vicious circle of poverty” in Turkey, which has been considered a fundamental problem in recent decades. We first build a system dynamics model of the interactions between the working poor and education opportunities. The main question is whether the poor will remain poor in successive generations, or if there can be upper intergenerational socioeconomic mobility among the poor. Secondly, the model seeks to examine some educational policies aimed at combating working poverty. The rise in privatized education is a key factor in the study since it directly influences the (in)equality in education opportunity. A high quality education is a pre-condition to acquire a high-skilled job. There are huge discrepancies in the quality of education in Turkey. As a consequence, unemployment and unskilled employment have been a persistent problem. The results of the model show that inequality in education opportunity can make it impossible for the poor to access high-quality education, hence suppressing the opportunity to have highly paid jobs. Finally, the study investigates some educational policies that may help breaking this vicious cycle.