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On the Origin and Composition of the German East-West Population Gap

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Listed:
  • Eder, Christoph

    (University of Linz)

  • Halla, Martin

    (University of Linz)

Abstract

The East-West gap in the German population is believed to originate from migrants escaping the socialist regime in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). We use newly collected regional data and the combination of a regression discontinuity design in space with a difference-in-differences approach to document that the largest part of this gap is due to a massive internal migration wave 3 years prior to the establishment of the GDR. The timing and spatial pattern of this migration movement suggest that the dominant motive was escaping physical assault by the Soviet army and not avoiding the socialist regime. The skill composition of these migrants shows a strong positive selection. The gap in population has remained remarkably sharp in space and is growing.

Suggested Citation

  • Eder, Christoph & Halla, Martin, 2018. "On the Origin and Composition of the German East-West Population Gap," IZA Discussion Papers 12031, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp12031
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    Cited by:

    1. Luis Martinez & Jonas Jessen & Guo Xu, 2020. "A Glimpse of Freedom: Allied Occupation and Political Resistance in East Germany," Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC) Working Papers 18, Empirical Studies of Conflict Project.
    2. Sascha O. Becker & Lukas Mergele & Ludger Woessmann, 2020. "The Separation and Reunification of Germany: Rethinking a Natural Experiment Interpretation of the Enduring Effects of Communism," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 143-171, Spring.
    3. Sascha O. Becker & Lukas Mergele & Ludger Woessmann, 2020. "The Separation and Reunification of Germany: Rethinking a Natural Experiment Interpretation of the Enduring Effects of Communism," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 143-171, Spring.
    4. Felix Rösel, 2019. "Die Wucht der deutschen Teilung wird völlig unterschätzt," ifo Dresden berichtet, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 26(03), pages 23-25, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    institutions; wartime violence against civilians; selective migration; regional migration; World War II; Germany; spatial distribution; regional economic activity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N94 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: 1913-
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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