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Unification and the Policy Predicament in Germany

  • Hughes Hallett, Andrew
  • Ma, Yue
  • Melitz, Jacques

We argue that wages have increased so far ahead of labour productivity in East Germany as to produce a problem that will continue to hound German policy-makers for the next two decades. Despite rapid rates of capital accumulation (around 9%) and growth (around 5%) in East Germany over the coming ten years, our estimates show that even if wage catch-up decelerates greatly, as long as it continues, the rate of unemployment in the East will still be twice as high as in the West in another ten years. Alternatively, if wage discipline forces the Eastern unemployment rate to come down to the Western level, wage differentials will widen substantially over these next ten years. Thus serious problems loom ahead.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 956.

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Date of creation: May 1994
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:956
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  1. Christian Thimann & Michael Breitner, 1995. "Eastern Germany and the conflict between wage adjustment, investment, and employment: A numerical analysis," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 131(3), pages 446-469, September.
  2. Franz, Wolfgang & Oser, Ursula & Winker, Peter, 1993. "Migratory movements in a disequilibrium macroeconometric model for West Germany," Discussion Papers, Series II 202, University of Konstanz, Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 178 "Internationalization of the Economy".
  3. George A. Akerlof & Andrew K. Rose & Janet L. Yellen & Helga Hessenius, 1991. "East Germany in from the Cold: The Economic Aftermath of Currency Union," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(1), pages 1-106.
  4. Rudiger Dornbusch & Holger Wolf, 1992. "Economic Transition in Eastern Germany," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(1), pages 235-272.
  5. Hughes Hallett, A J & Ma, Yue, 1993. "East Germany, West Germany, and Their Mezzogiorno Problem: A Parable for European Economic Integration," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(417), pages 416-28, March.
  6. Burda, Michael C & Funke, Michael, 1993. "Eastern Germany: Can't We Be More Optimistic?," CEPR Discussion Papers 863, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Hallett, A. J. Hughes & Ma, Yue, 1994. "Real adjustment in a union of incompletely converged economies: An example from East and West Germany," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 1731-1761, December.
  8. Mckibbin, W.J., 1990. "Some Global Macroeconomic Implications Of German Unification," Papers 81, Brookings Institution - Working Papers.
  9. Lewis S. Alexander & Joseph E. Gagnon, 1990. "The global economic implications of German unification," International Finance Discussion Papers 379, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. Gerlinde Sinn & Hans-Werner Sinn, 1994. "Jumpstart: The Economic Unification of Germany," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262691728, June.
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