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2018, Cilt 8, Sayı 1, Sayfa(lar) 001-021
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DOI: 10.5961/jhes.2018.243
Alternative Strategies to Avoid Middle-Income Trap: Reform in Turkey’s Higher Education
Halil Kürşad ASLAN, Murat ASLAN
1İstanbul Medipol University, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Istanbul, Turkey
2Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University, Faculty of Political Science, Department of Economics, Ankara, Turkey
Keywords: Middle-income trap, Higher education reform, Soft power, Innovation, development

Middle-income trap is a status of stagnation in economic growth when countries reach middle-income levels in the simplest terms. The country has to enter into a process of fundamental restructuring in its economy in order to reach high-income from the middle-income levels. This restructuring process should be technology and innovation centered. On this regard, it is important to note that it would be the privilege of only a handful of countries which can afford to invest large enough research and development funds and facilities in the world economy; this is all about scale economies and only limited number of achievers would be able to get into the premier technology and innovation league. Under this competitive environment one of the most critical conditions of this restructuring process requires the most effective usage of national resources particularly human capital for higher education and technological production. This research takes development and middle-income trap concepts from the economics and combines them with the international relations discipline; thus, it concentrates on the role of higher education system regarding innovation and technology production in an interdisciplinary way. In the mainstream international relations theories one of the most important assumptions is that there is no centralized world government; and due to this fact states try to take every necessary precaution to protect their own security and interests in an anarchic global system based on brutal competition. From this perspective this research concentrates on the position of higher education systems in the production of technology and human capital, as well as in national innovation strategies, of countries targeting high income groups like Turkey. A systematic analysis is carried out in the context of the development of human capital which is the most important factor in the higher education system and national innovation strategy of Turkey which has the aim of achieving high income and human development levels. Inputs, outputs and process control stages of Turkey’s higher education system are elaborated. Research questions to be answered are “Should the global political economy is considered with a holistic view in the context of information economy and interstate competition where one might locate the position of Turkey?” Additionally, what could Turkey do to move its position to advanced levels? What types of reforms have successfully been completed in the higher education and national innovation policies in those few countries that have managed to overcome the middle income trap? What does Turkey need to do to achieve high human development and advanced income levels?

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