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Why East Germany did not become a new Mezzogiorno

Author

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  • Boltho, Andrea
  • Carlin, Wendy
  • Scaramozzino, Pasquale

Abstract

Economic integration is generally thought to favour convergence in the economic performance of previously separated regions; but this is far from universally true, as the experience of the members of the Eurozone testifies. The paper considers the two sharply contrasting cases of East and West German convergence following reunification and the enduring poverty of the Italian Mezzogiorno since Italian unification a century and a half ago. In both countries, political integration delivers much higher consumption in the lagging relative to the leading region than of per capita GDP. Consumption convergence can be supported by transfers but ‘production’ convergence ultimately requires catch-up in the production of tradeables. The paper demonstrates the radically different performance of the tradeable sector in the two cases, and suggests that this may be the result of differences in labour market flexibility, in investment performance and in the social norms required for the production of complex manufacturing.

Suggested Citation

  • Boltho, Andrea & Carlin, Wendy & Scaramozzino, Pasquale, 2018. "Why East Germany did not become a new Mezzogiorno," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 308-325.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:46:y:2018:i:1:p:308-325
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2017.11.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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