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The evolution of German's values since reunification

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  • Necker, Sarah
  • Voskort, Andrea

Abstract

Exploiting the natural experiment of German reunification, we study whether having experienced socialism has an enduring effect on people's basic values. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, we show that individuals that lived in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) assign different importance to six out of nine life goals. Our evidence suggests two reactions, adaption to policies/conditions in the GDR as well as switching to the opposite values. The strength of the reactions varies with East Germans' appreciation of reunification. Intergenerational transmission seems to contribute to the preservation of socialist in influence across generations; it does not differ between East and West Germany. We show that self-reported values are behaviorally relevant. Differences in values provide a possible explanation for persistent differences in behavior. --

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Walter Eucken Institut e.V. in its series Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics with number 13/13.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:aluord:1313

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Keywords: endogenous preferences; socialism; intergenerational transmission;

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  1. Dohmen, Thomas J & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2008. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 6844, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Dohmen Thomas & Falk Armin & Huffman David & Sunde Uwe & Schupp Jürgen & Wagner Gert, 2009. "Individual Risk Attitudes: Measurement, Determinants and Behavioral Consequences," ROA Research Memorandum, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) 007, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  3. Stefan Bauernschuster & Helmut Rainer, 2012. "Political regimes and the family: how sex-role attitudes continue to differ in reunified Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 5-27, January.
  4. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
  5. David G. Blanchflower & Richard Freeman, 1997. "The attitudinal legacy of Communist labor relations," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(3), pages 438-459, April.
  6. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
  7. Bauernschuster, Stefan & Falck, Oliver & Gold, Robert & Heblich, Stephan, 2012. "The shadows of the socialist past: Lack of self-reliance hinders entrepreneurship," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 485-497.
  8. Cipriani, Marco & Giuliano, Paola & Jeanne, Olivier, 2013. "Like mother like son? Experimental evidence on the transmission of values from parents to children," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 100-111.
  9. Henriette Engelhardt & Heike Trappe & Jaap Dronkers, 2002. "Differences in family policy and the intergenerational transmission of divorce: a comparison between the former East and West Germany," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2002-008, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  10. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
  11. Stigler, George J & Becker, Gary S, 1977. "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 76-90, March.
  12. Henriette Engelhardt & Heike Trappe & Jaap Dronkers, 2002. "Differences in Family Policies and the Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 6(11), pages 295-324, May.
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