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Inequality Trends for Germany in the Last Two Decades: A Tale of Two Countries

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  • Nicola Fuchs-Schuendeln

    (University of Frankfurt)

  • Dirk Krueger

    (University of Pennsylvania)

  • Mathias Sommer

    (University of Mannheim)

Abstract

In this paper we first document inequality trends in wages, hours worked, earnings, consumption, and wealth for Germany from the last twenty years. We generally find that inequality was relatively stable in West Germany until the German Reunification, and then trended upwards for wages and market incomes, especially after about 1998. Disposable income and consumption, on the other hand, display only a modest increase in inequality over the same period. These trends occured against the backdrop of lower trend growth of earnings, incomes and consumption in the 1990s relative to the 1980s. In the second part of the paper we further analyze the differences between East and West Germans in terms of the evolution of levels and inequality of wages, income, and consumption. (Copyright: Elsevier)

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.red.2009.09.004
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 13 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 103-132

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Handle: RePEc:red:issued:09-195

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Keywords: Inequality; German reunification;

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References

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  1. Schwarze, Johannes, 1996. "How Income Inequality Changed in Germany following Reunification: An Empirical Analysis Using Decomposable Inequality Measures," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 42(1), pages 1-11, March.
  2. Fatih Guvenen, 2005. "Learning Your Earning: Are Labor Income Shocks Really Very Persistent?," Macroeconomics 0507004, EconWPA.
  3. Meghir, Costas & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2002. "Income Variance Dynamics and Heterogeneity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3632, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  5. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2005. "Two Views of Inequality Over the Life Cycle," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 765-775, 04/05.
  6. Mark Hugget & Gustavo Ventura & Amir Yaron, 2002. "Human Capital and Earnings Distribution Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 9366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Stefan Bach & Giacomo Corneo & Viktor Steiner, 2007. "From Bottom to Top: The Entire Distribution of Market Income in Germany, 1992 - 2001," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 683, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  8. Dustmann, Christian & Ludsteck, Johannes & Schönberg, Uta, 2007. "Revisiting the German Wage Structure," IZA Discussion Papers 2685, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Deaton, Angus & Paxson, Christina, 1994. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 437-67, June.
  10. Sinn, Gerlinde & Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1992. "Kaltstart. Volkswirtschaftliche Aspekte der Deutschen Vereinigung," Monograph, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, edition 2, number urn:isbn:9783161459429, Octomber.
  11. Markus M. Grabka & Joachim R. Frick, 2008. "Schrumpfende Mittelschicht: Anzeichen einer dauerhaften Polarisierung der verfügbaren Einkommen?," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 75(10), pages 101-108.
  12. Bayer, Christian & Juessen, Falko, 2009. "The Life-Cycle and the Business-Cycle of Wage Risk: A Cross-Country Comparison," IZA Discussion Papers 4402, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Biewen, Martin, 2000. "Income Inequality in Germany during the 1980s and 1990s," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(1), pages 1-19, March.
  14. Martin Biewen, 2001. "Measuring the Effects of Socio-Economic Variables on the Income Distribution: An Application to the East German Transition Process," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 185-190, February.
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