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German reunification and convergence policies


  • Juan Carlos Martinez Oliva

    () (Banca d'Italia)


This paper examines German reunification from its inception. It shows that after the rapid expansion of the early years, former East Germany entered a phase of slow growth that made it impossible to bridge the gap with West Germany. Unemployment remains high, low growth rates appear ingrained, and persistent regional unbalances affect the social and economic prospects of the area. The long-term outlook is threatened by adverse demographic trends and by the need for fiscal consolidation. A comparison between eastern Germany and the Italian Mezzogiorno shows that both rely heavily on government intervention. This dependency is perpetuated by the evident difficulty of setting an autonomous growth process in motion. By contrast, unlike the Mezzogiorno, the eastern German regions enjoy a high level of infrastructural endowment, a legal system that is both efficient and effective, and excellent human capital, partly inherited from the former DDR.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan Carlos Martinez Oliva, 2009. "German reunification and convergence policies," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 51, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:opques:qef_51_09

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    3. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    4. Jonathan Temple, 1999. "The New Growth Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 112-156, March.
    5. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-499, June.
    6. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
    7. Floro Ernesto Caroleo – Gianluigi Coppola & Gianluigi Coppola, 2005. "The Impact of the Institutions on Regional Unemployment Disparities," CELPE Discussion Papers 98, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.
    8. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Floro Ernesto Caroleo & Gianluigi Coppola, 2005. "The impact of institutions on Regional unemployment disparities," ERSA conference papers ersa05p758, European Regional Science Association.
    10. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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    More about this item


    Germany; Mezzogiorno; transition; integration; Finanzausgleich; Treuhandanstalt;

    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies

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