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Economic Relations Between Women And Their Partners: An East And West German Comparison After Reunification

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  • Heike Trappe
  • Annemette Sørensen

Abstract

This article compares women's and men's economic relations in East and West Germany following the 1990 reunification to exemplify the impact of varying opportunity structures on women's relative contribution to family income. West Germany's takeover set in motion a rapid transformation of East German institutions and employment structures. The analysis shows that women in West Germany became less dependent on their partners in the 1990s, largely because fewer women were housewives without earnings. In contrast, the contributions of women to the family economy in East Germany fell between 1990 and 1996. Afterwards, women in East Germany regained some of their economic power because of their partners' increasing difficulties sustaining employment. A multivariate analysis showed that the fact that women in West Germany were more likely to work less or not at all - especially if they were married or had children - accounted for much of the difference.

Suggested Citation

  • Heike Trappe & Annemette Sørensen, 2006. "Economic Relations Between Women And Their Partners: An East And West German Comparison After Reunification," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 643-665.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:12:y:2006:i:4:p:643-665
    DOI: 10.1080/13545700600885255
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gustafsson, Siv, 1992. "Separate Taxation and Married Women's Labor Supply: A Comparison of West Germany and Sweden," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 5(1), pages 61-85, February.
    2. Wolfgang Franz & Viktor Steiner, 2000. "Wages in the East German Transition Process: Facts and Explanations," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(3), pages 241-269, August.
    3. Jennifer Hunt, 2004. "Convergence and determinants of non-employment durations in Eastern and Western Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 17(2), pages 249-266, June.
    4. Thomas Lange & Geoffrey Pugh, 1998. "The Economics of German Unification," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 794, April.
    5. Elke Holst & Jürgen Schupp, 2001. "Erwerbsverhalten von Frauen: Trotz Annäherung immer noch deutliche Unterschiede zwischen Ost und West," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 68(42), pages 648-658.
    6. Annemette Sorensen, 2001. "Gender equality in earnings at work and at home," LIS Working papers 251, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    7. Viktor Steiner & Katharina Wrohlich, 2004. "Household Taxation, Income Splitting and Labor Supply Incentives – A Microsimulation Study for Germany," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 50(3), pages 541-568.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:dem:demres:v:36:y:2017:i:53 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Andreas Klärner, 2015. "The low importance of marriage in eastern Germany - social norms and the role of peoples’ perceptions of the past," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 33(9), pages 239-272, July.
    3. Christian Schmitt & Heike Trappe, 2014. "Geschlechterarrangements und Ehestabilität in Ost- und Westdeutschland," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 682, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    4. Liat Raz-Yurovich, 2012. "Normative and allocation role strain: role incompatibility, outsourcing, and the transition to a second birth in Eastern and Western Germany," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2012-024, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    5. Pedro Quintín Quílez, 2008. "Vida conyugal y desigualdades de género en Cali (Colombia)," REVISTA SOCIEDAD Y ECONOMIA - CIDSE, UNIVERSIDAD DEL VALLE - CIDSE, August.
    6. Karl Ulrich Mayer & Heike Solga, 2010. "Lebensverläufe im deutsch-deutschen Vereinigungsprozess," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 322, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    7. Madalozzo, Regina & Martins, Sergio R. & Shiratori, Ludmila, 2008. "Participação no Mercado de Trabalho e no Trabalho Doméstico: Homens e Mulheres têm Condições Iguais?," Insper Working Papers wpe_118, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Dual-earner couples; economics of the family; household economics; East and West Germany; JEL Codes: D1; J16;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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