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Life Satisfaction and Economic Outcomes in Germany Pre- and Post-Unification

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  • Easterlin, Richard A.

    ()
    (University of Southern California)

  • Zimmermann, Anke

    ()
    (University of Southern California)

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    Abstract

    Throughout Germany real income has trended upward since 1991, but life satisfaction has risen in the East, fallen in the West, and been fairly stable for Germany as a whole. By 1997 the initial excess of West over East Germany was cut by over one-half; since then, the differential has changed very little, and even edged slightly upward. The post-unification decline in West Germany appears to be a break with the pattern in the seven years prior to unification and occurs among Germans, European foreigners, and Turkish foreigners. After 1997, Turkish foreigners, unlike the others, continue to decline in life satisfaction, and by 2004, their initial excess over East Germans largely disappears. The life satisfaction of post-unification migrants from East Germany to the West is somewhat less than that of Germans and European foreigners in the West, but higher than that of Turkish foreigners and of Germans in East Germany. Migrants from the West to East Germany have life satisfaction about equal to that of Germans in that region. Trends and differences in overall life satisfaction are most systematically related to reports on satisfaction with income, next to the unemployment rate, and least of all, to absolute real income.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2494.

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    Length: 46 pages
    Date of creation: Dec 2006
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: published in: Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2008, 68 (3-4), 433-444
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2494

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    Related research

    Keywords: German unification; subjective well-being; domain satisfaction;

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    References

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    1. David Coleman, 2006. "Immigration and Ethnic Change in Low-Fertility Countries: A Third Demographic Transition," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 32(3), pages 401-446.
    2. repec:pse:psecon:2006-24 is not listed on IDEAS
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    7. Grabka, Markus M. & Schwarze, Johannes & Wagner, Gert G., 1999. "How unification and immigration affected the German income distribution," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 867-878, April.
    8. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2006. "Some Uses of Happiness Data in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-46, Winter.
    9. Burda, Michael C., 1993. "The determinants of East-West German migration: Some first results," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 452-461, April.
    10. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
    11. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Investigating the Patterns and Determinants of Life Satisfaction in Germany Following Reunification," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
    12. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Money Does Matter! Evidence from Increasing Real Income and Life Satisfaction in East Germany Following Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 730-740, June.
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