Doctor Zeyneb Hafsa Orhan from Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University Economics Department has given a talk on March 8, 2019 as part of our Economics seminar series. Doctor Orhan’s talk was focused on the growth of Islamic banking in Turkey from its early roots until the recent developments. The seminar participants have benefited from this important introduction to Turkish Islamic banking system and how this system compares to those in other countries. We would like to thank Doctor Orhan for this talk and wish him success with her academic studies. Below you can find the abstract of the paper upon which this seminar was built on.


Abstract: The purpose of this paper is inductively identifying the business model of Islamic (participation) banks in Turkey via using bank characteristics, meaning balance sheet ratios. Design/methodology/approach: The methodology starts from bank characteristics and ends with identification of bank business model according to these characteristics under the assumption that there is one single business model (say Model A) for all Turkish Islamic banks. What the author aims to find is the properties of this business model. Regarding the method, seven bank characteristics from liability side and five characteristics from asset side of bank balance sheets were established. While representing these characteristics, the author uses charts and tables. Necessary data are gathered from the Central Bank of Turkey. Time frame of monthly data is from December 2005 to March 2015. In total, there are 1356 observations. Findings: Value proposition of business model of Turkish Islamic banks depends on participation in collecting funds. In terms of customer segmentation, there is dominance of private sector. While using the funds, the main preference is loans, meaning that value proposition depends on loan products, especially murabahah. Thus, revenue streams depend on mark-up. Overall, business model of Turkish Islamic banks seems similar to traditional banking based on intermediation with some peculiarities. There are also some evidences which can be interpreted as signs toward decline in this traditional role like decrease in deposits, increase in funds from financial institutions and decrease in loans. Practical implications: It can be said that original idea of participation banks has been followed on the liability side of Turkish Islamic banks. However, decrease in deposits recently needs detailed investigation to create convenient policies especially by Islamic banks. Similar investigation and policy creation is needed also for the developments of increase in funds from financial institutions and decrease in loans. Furthermore, as the original idea of participation is not followed by business model of Turkish Islamic banks, rethinking and acting is needed in that regard. Originality/value: Main contributions of this paper are as follows: first, it fills a gap in the field where studies regarding business model of Islamic banks are scarce. Second, it fills a gap in literature of Islamic banking in Turkey where most of the studies are about development or jurisprudence of Islamic banks. Third, it provides a decade-long evidence regarding business model of Islamic banks in Turkey. Fourth, the findings provide an initial step for the construction of a business model canvas for Turkish Islamic banks. Fifth, discussion of findings leads to number of important questions which can pave the way for new research studies.



Professor Asad Zaman gave a talk titled “Launching a Revolution in Teaching Economics” on February 8,2019. Professor Zaman currently holds the Vice Chancellor position at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics. He has held several positions in distinguished universities across the United States, Turkey and Pakistan, and made numerous remarkable contributions in the field of Economics. In this talk, he provided his perspective on Eurocentric approach to teaching, the problems associated with it, and how to tackle these problems along with the alternative approaches. We have greatly benefited from Professor Zaman’s alternative approaches to teaching methods. We would like to thank Professor Zaman for this important talk and hope to host him again at our university in the coming years.

Please visit Professor Zaman’s website at for detailed information on alternative Economics teaching methods and various lecture notes.



We hosted Associate Professor Resul Cesur from the University of Connecticut as our weekly seminar speaker on February 15, 2019. Professor Cesur’s presentation asks the question “DID THE WAR ON TERROR IGNITE A VETERAN OPIOID EPIDEMIC?” Utilizing a detailed dataset, he shows that opioid use and painkiller abuse is significantly higher among veterans compared to the average population. We would like to thank Professor Cesur for this critical discussion and hope to host him for future sessions. Below, you can find the abstract of his paper.

Abstract: Military veterans are at ground zero of the U.S. opioid epidemic, facing an overdose rate twice that of civilians.  Post-9/11 deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq have exposed service members to injury-related chronic pain, psychological trauma, and cheap opium, all of which may fuel opioid addiction.  This study is the first to  estimate the impact of military deployments in the Global War on Terrorism on opioid abuse.  We exploit a natural experiment in  overseas deployment assignments and find that combat service  substantially increased the risk of prescription painkiller abuse and illicit heroin use among active duty servicemen.  War-related physical  injuries, death-related battlefield trauma, and Post-Traumatic Stress  Disorder emerge as important mechanisms.  The magnitudes of our  estimates imply lower bound combat-induced health care costs of $1.2 to $1.7 billion per year for prescription painkiller abuse and $800 million per year for heroin use.



Assistant Professor Hakkı Yazıcı from Sabancı University gave a talk as part of our weekly seminar series on December 21, 2018. In this presentation, Doctor Yazıcı provided us with an analysis of his model towards understanding optimal taxation strategies in the presence of labor market frictions accompanied with career ladders. He concluded the talk with an investigation into US labor market. We would like to thank Doctor Yazıcı for this very important discussion and wish him great success in his future studies. Below, you can find the abstract of his paper.

Abstract: We analyze the implications of ex ante dispersion in worker talents and a frictional labor market for the design of tax and benefit systems. Our model features on and off the job search, job ladders and equilibrium income and profit dispersion within talent markets. In a baseline setting with no talent dispersion, the optimal system consists of an unemployment benefit financed out of a simple lump sum tax on workers. The benefit is high enough to suppress worker income and firm profit dispersion, deter worker poaching and collapse job ladders. With talent dispersion, high benefit levels drive less talented workers out of the market and are prohibitively costly. Active talent markets are frictional. Taxes impact the dispersion of worker incomes and firm profits within these markets. These effects shape and modify conventional optimal tax formulas.



On December 14, 2018, Doctor Ayşegül Kayaoğlu from Istanbul Technical University was the presenter in our weekly Economics seminar series. Doctor Kayaoğlu’s talk focused on her work in the labour market implications of child work for later stages of their career. Employing a panel data analysis, she provided us with an examination into the dynamics of how individuals who had child work experience compared to those who did not. We would like to thank Doctor Kayaoğlu for her analysis and hope to host her again in the coming years.


Assistant Professor Sadullah Yildirim’s paper has been published by the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. In Religiosity: Identifying the effect of pluralism, Professor Sadullah and his co-authors provide a new perspective on the question of whether plurality has an effect on religiosity. We congratulate Professor Yildirim for his work and wish him success in his future studies. Below, you can find the abstract of his paper.

Abstract: Economists and sociologists have long disagreed over the effect of pluralism on religiosity, the question of whether the number religions in a society lessens or heightens people’s beliefs and participation. The controversy stems from the omission of religion’s role in legitimizing government, which has significantly biased previous estimates. We use a novel identification strategy that exploits the variation among countries in their proximity (cost of travel) to centers of universal religions of the world (Buddhism, Christianity, Islam). Whereas the results of OLS analysis tentatively suggest a negative association between pluralism and religiosity, estimates from the method of instrumental variables reveal that the direct effect of pluralism is positive. Our results support the argument that enhanced competition in the religion market would increase religiosity by offering believers a greater variety and quality of choices.


Assistant Professor Serife Genc Ileri’s paper has been accepted for publication by the Canadian Journal of Economics. In Selective Immigration Policy and Its Impacts on Natives: A General Equilibrium Analysis, Professor Ileri analyzes how immigration impacts the economic well being of the incumbent population, shedding light upon the immigration debate which has received significant coverage in the recent years. We congratulate Professor Ileri for her work and wish him success in her future studies. Below, you can find the abstract of her paper.

Abstract: This paper analyzes the effects of skilled immigration on the wage inequality between different education groups and the welfare of the incumbent population. We use a heterogenous agent overlapping generations model with endogenous discrete college education choice and calibrate it to match the features of 1981 Canadian economy. Our quantitative analysis suggests that reducing the skilled immigration rate generates a rise in the growth rate of the wage inequality between college-educated and non-college workers. As skilled immigrants are admitted at a lower rate, more natives opt for college education in the economy. Our welfare analysis shows that the incumbent young and college-educated population benefits more from a reduction in the skilled immigration rate. On the other hand, young generations with below-college education face welfare losses. Our results suggest that skilled immigration contributes positively to the overall welfare in the economy.


In the opening ceremony for the 2018-2019 academic year, Professor Mohamad Lutfi Hammour of Ibn Haldun University Economics Department presented the traditional opening lecture. We would like to thank Professor Hammour for this great session on the philosophical aspects of Economics research. Attached below is the video stream of the academic year opening ceremony along with Professor Hammour’s presentation.


In this week’s installment of the Economics seminar series, we hosted Assistant Professor Barış Alpaslan from Social Sciences University of Ankara Department of Economics. Doctor Alpaslan provided a detailed account of his research on the relationship between child labor, access to infrastructure and economic growth, particularly for low income countries. We would like to thank Professor Alpaslan for providing his insight on this important issue. Below, you can find the abstract of her paper.

Abstract: This paper develops a three-period, gender-based overlapping generations model of economic growth with heterogeneity in parental preferences, endogenous intra-household bargaining, and child labor in home production by girls.
Improved access to infrastructure reduces the amount of time parents find optimal for their daughters to spend on household chores, thereby allowing them to allocate more time to studying at home. The model is calibrated for a low income country and various quantitative experiments are conducted, including an increase in the share of public spending on infrastructure, an increase in time allocated by mothers to their daughters, and a decrease in fathers’ preference for their daughters’ education. Our analysis shows that poor access by families to infrastructure may provide an endogenous explanation, complementary to those focusing solely on social norms and cultural values, for the persistence of child labor at home and gender inequality in low-income countries.


Doctor Ece Güleryüz of İstanbul 29 Mayıs University Economics Department has given a talk as part of our Economics seminar series. Doctor Güleryüz’s talk has been built on the part of the growth theory where researchers try and elicit the determinants of the varying growth levels among countries. In her work, Doctor Güleryüz starts with a revised definition of growth rates which incorporates inclusive growth which is concerned with taking into account differences of income distribution among different groups in the society. Then, using the data from the Middle East and North African countries, Doctor Güleryüz identifies the determinants of the performance of these economies with respect to this new measure. We would like to thank Doctor Güleryüz for this important session Below, you can find the abstract of her paper.

Abstract: We investigate the macroeconomic fundamentals and structural factors which affect inclusive growth in 16 MENA countries before and after the Global Financial Crisis. We use a panel data fixed effects model in two time periods: 1996-2007 and 2008-2016. A measure of inclusive growth is defined by integrating economic growth and income inequality. In this way, we account for the relative impacts of GDP per capita growth rate and change in Gini coefficient. A wide range of factors such as environmental degradation, macroeconomic stability, fiscal discipline, globalization, human capital, life expectancy, and technological development appear to significantly affect inclusive growth performance in the MENA region. During and after the Global Financial Crisis, voice and accountability seems to be an important institutional quality component influencing the inclusiveness of economic growth.