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Good-Bye Lenin (Or Not?): The Effect of Communism on People's Preferences

  • Fuchs-Schundeln, Nicola
  • Alesina, Alberto
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    Preferences for redistribution, as well as the generosity of welfare states, differ significantly across countries. This paper tests whether there exists a feedback process of the economic regime on individual preferences. We exploit the experiment of German separation and reunification to establish exogeneity of the economic system. We find that, after German reunification, East Germans are more in favor of state intervention than West Germans. This effect is especially strong for older cohorts. We further find that East Germans' preferences converge toward those of West Germans. It will take one to two generations for preferences to converge completely.

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    File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/4553032/alesinassrn_goodbyelenin.pdf
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    Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 4553032.

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    Date of creation: 2007
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    Publication status: Published in American Economic Review
    Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:4553032
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    Web page: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/
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    1. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2005. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," Scholarly Articles 4552533, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    2. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2000. "Who wants to redistribute?: The tunnel effect in 1990s Russia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 87-104, April.
    3. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, . "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," Working Papers 178, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    4. Roland Benabou & Efe A. Ok, 1998. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: The POUM Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 6795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2004. "Fairness and Redistribution," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 122247000000000306, www.najecon.org.
    6. Corneo, Giacomo & Grüner, Hans Peter, 2001. "Individual Preferences for Political Redistribution," CEPR Discussion Papers 2694, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Thomas Piketty, 1994. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," Working papers 94-15, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    8. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
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