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Regional Labor Markets, Network Externalities and Migration: The Case of German Reunification

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  • Harald Uhlig

Abstract

Fifteen years after German reunification, the facts about slow regional convergence have born out the prediction of Barro (1991), except that migration out of East Germany has not slowed down. I document that in particular the 18-29 year old are leaving East Germany, and that the emigration has accelerated in recent years. To understand these patterns, I provide an extension of the standard labor search model by allowing for migration and network externalities. In that theory, two equilibria can result: one with a high networking rate, high average labor productivity, low unemployment and no emigration (“West Germany”) and one with a low networking rate, low average labor productivity, high unemployment and a constant rate of emigration (“East Germany”). The model does not imply any obviously sound policies to move from the weakly networked equilibrium to the highly networked equilibrium.

Suggested Citation

  • Harald Uhlig, 2006. "Regional Labor Markets, Network Externalities and Migration: The Case of German Reunification," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2006-004, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2006-004
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    Keywords

    German reunification; labor market search; network externalities; migration; regional economics;

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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