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The Transition in East Germany: When is a Ten Point Fall in the Gender Wage Gap Bad News?

  • Hunt, Jennifer

Since monetary union with West Germany on 1 July 1990, eastern female monthly wages have risen by 10 percentage points relative to male wages, but female employment has fallen 5 percentage points more than male employment. Using the German Socio-Economic Panel to study the years 1990–94, I show that along with age, the wage of a worker in 1990 is the most important determinant of the hazard rate from employment. Differences in mean 1990 wages explain more than one-half of the gender gap in this hazard rate, since low earners were more likely to leave employment, and were disproportionately female. The withdrawal from employment of low earners can explain 80% of the rise in relative female wages. There is no evidence that reduction in child care availability is a major factor in reducing female employment rates.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 1805.

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Date of creation: Mar 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1805
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  1. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1, December.
  2. Steiner, Viktor & Wagner, Kersten, 1997. "East West German wage convergence - How far have we got?," ZEW Discussion Papers 97-25, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  3. M. Burda & C. Schmidt, 1997. "Getting Behind The East-West Wage Differential: Theory and Evidence," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1997,77, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  4. Peter Krause, 1994. "Armut im Wohlstand: Betroffenheit und Folgen," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 88, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence M, 1997. "Swimming Upstream: Trends in the Gender Wage Differential in 1980s," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 1-42, January.
  6. Krueger, Alan B. & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 1992. "A comparative analysis of East and West German labor markets before and after unification," ZEW Discussion Papers 92-11, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  7. Michael C. Burda & Christoph M. Schmitd, 1997. "Getting Behind the East-West [German] Wage Differential: Theory and Evidence," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 105, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  8. Rainer Pischner & Gert G. Wagner, 1995. "Bilanz der Erwerbschancen fünf Jahre nach der Wende in Ostdeutschland," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 62(46), pages 789-796.
  9. Licht, Georg & Steiner, Viktor, 1992. "Where have all the workers gone? Employment termination in East Germany after unification," ZEW Discussion Papers 92-12, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  10. Wolfgang Scheremet, 1995. "Tarifpolitik in Ostdeutschland: Ausstieg aus dem Lohnverhandlungsmodell der Bundesrepublik Deutschland?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 113, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  11. Viktor Steiner & Patrick A. Puhani, 1997. "Economic Restructuring, the Value of Human Capital, and the Distribution of Hourly Wages in Eastern Germany, 1990 to 1994," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 66(1), pages 197-204.
  12. David Begg & Richard Portes, 1993. "Eastern Germany since unification: wage subsidies remain a better way," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 1(4), pages 383-400, December.
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