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Income Inequality in Germany during the 1980s and 1990s

  • Biewen, Martin

This paper estimates a variety of inequality measures for three sub-samples of the German population using cross-sectional data on equivalent income from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP). The sub-populations under consideration are residents of West Germany including foreigners for the years 1984 to 1996, residents of East Germany for the years 1990 to 1996 and a comprehensive German population for the years 1990 to 1996. Bootstrap methods are applied to test whether changes in inequality are statistically significant. In order to account for panel attrition and over-sampling, sample weights are incorporated into the estimation procedure. The empirical results confirm the relative stability of the West German income distribution. While income inequality in West Germany has generally not altered in an economically relevant way over the period 1985 to 1996, inequality in East Germany has increased after reunification. Despite this increase, inequality remains substantially higher in the western part of the country. Convergence of eastern mean income to the western level generally overcompensated the rise in inequality in East Germany, so that the level of inequality in unified Germany is lower in 1996 than in 1990. Copyright 2000 by The International Association for Research in Income and Wealth.

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Article provided by International Association for Research in Income and Wealth in its journal Review of Income & Wealth.

Volume (Year): 46 (2000)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 1-19

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Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:46:y:2000:i:1:p:1-19
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