How does Turkey's social security system compare to European and other countries' systems in respect to welfare effort and welfare commitment? To explore questions like these, the project employs newly generated quantitative comparative data on Turkey's social security system between 1980 and 2015.
Up until now, research on Turkey's social security system has been impeded by the lack of reliable quantitative data that would enable a comparison with European welfare states. For instance, data on welfare commitment, i.e. social rights and entitlements, has been virtually nonexistent. Relying on new comparative data, the project will construct scores for composite indexes, such as the Decommodification Index or the Benefit Generosity Index, for the case of Turkey. This will enable a comparison of the quality and extent of social rights provided by Turkey's social security system with those of European welfare states.
Furthermore, the project also makes use of the data underlying the composite Decommodification and Benefit Generosity Indexes. These indexes are each composed of nearly twenty different indicators, which contain detailed and valuable information on social security systems. The project will employ cluster analysis to explore this data in-depth. This will make it possible to locate the Turkish welfare regime in the different worlds of welfare. Thus, the research will help to understand in how far Turkey's welfare regime really resembles the Southern European welfare regime, as has been widely assumed.
First results indicate that over the last decades Turkey's social security system has become more similar to those of European welfare states. In that period, Turkey's welfare state has expanded, with increased coverage and new policies, such as an unemployment insurance program that started to pay unemployment benefits in 2002. This is also reflected in increased Benefit Generosity Index scores. Thus, one can argue that while Turkey is still a welfare laggard, it is now, broadly speaking, in the same league as European countries.