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The Biological Standard of Living in the Two Germanies

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  • John Komlos
  • Peter Kriwy

Abstract

Physical stature is used as a proxy for the biological standard of living in thetwo Germanies before and after unification in an analysis of a cross-sectionalsample (1998) of adult heights, as well as among military recruits of the1990s. West Germans tended to be taller than East Germans throughout theperiod under consideration. Contrary to official proclamations of a classlesssociety, there were substantial differences in physical stature in East-Germany.Social differences in height were greater in the East amongfemales, and less among males than in the West. Spatial inequality wasgreater in the East than in the West, pointing to the relativelyunderdeveloped nature of the East-German rural sector. The difficultiesexperienced by the East-German population after 1961 is evident in theincrease in social inequality of physical stature thereafter, as well as in theincreasing gap relative to the height of the West-German population. Afterunification, however, there is a tendency for East-German males, but not offemales, to catch up with their West-German counterparts.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 560.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_560

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Keywords: living standards; welfare; socialism; capitalism; transformation.;

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  1. Hans-Werner Sinn, 2000. "Germany's Economic Unification. An Assessment after Ten Years," CESifo Working Paper Series 247, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
  3. Gerlinde Sinn & Hans-Werner Sinn, 1994. "Jumpstart: The Economic Unification of Germany," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262691728, December.
  4. John Komlos, . "Shrinking in a Growing Economy? The Mystery of Physical Stature during the Industrial Revolution," Articles by John Komlos 7, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
  5. John Komlos, . "On the Biological Standard of Living in Russia and the Soviet Union," Articles by John Komlos 40, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
  6. John Komlos, 1998. "Classics of Anthropometric History: A Selected Anthology," Books by John Komlos, Department of Economics, University of Munich, number 7.
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