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The Biological Standard of Living in the Two Germanies

  • John Komlos
  • Peter Kriwy

Physical stature is used as a proxy for the biological standard of living in the two Germanies before and after unification in an analysis of a cross-sectional sample (1998) of adult heights, as well as among military recruits of the 1990s. West Germans tended to be taller than East Germans throughout the period under consideration. Contrary to official proclamations of a classless society, there were substantial social differences in physical stature in East Germany. Social differences in height were greater in the East among females, and less among males than in the West. The difficulties experienced by the East German population after 1961 is evident in the increase in social inequality of physical stature thereafter, as well as in the considerable gap relative to the height of the West German population. After unification, however, there is a tendency for East German males, but not of females, to catch up with their West German counterparts. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2003.

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Article provided by Verein für Socialpolitik in its journal German Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 4 (2003)
Issue (Month): (November)
Pages: 459-473

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Handle: RePEc:bla:germec:v:4:y:2003:i::p:459-473
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  1. Gerlinde Sinn & Hans-Werner Sinn, 1994. "Jumpstart: The Economic Unification of Germany," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262691728, June.
  2. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 2002. "Germany’s Economic Unification: An Assessment after Ten Years," Munich Reprints in Economics 19643, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. 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.
  4. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group 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, Jul-Oct.
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