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The Caring Hand that Cripples: The East German Labor Market After Reunification (Detailed Version)

  • Snower, Dennis J.


    (Kiel Institute for the World Economy)

  • Merkl, Christian


    (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

The East German labor market has hardly made any progress since German reunification, despite massive migration flows and support from the West. We argue that East Germany is in trouble precisely because of the support it has received. This paper explores the phenomenon of "the caring hand that cripples," arising from bargaining by proxy, the adoption of the West German welfare system and the associated employment persistence. Even the steady decrease of labor cost (normalized by productivity) since the beginning of the nineties did not help to kick start the East. We suggest that labor force participants fell into "traps," concerning low skills, ageing of the workforce, labor-saving capital and skills, capital underutilization, and unemployment arising from the decline of the tradable sector.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2066.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2066
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  1. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 2002. "Germany's Economic Unification: An Assessment after Ten Years," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 113-28, February.
  2. Lehmann, Harald & Ludwig, Udo & Ragnitz, Joachim, 2005. "Originäre Wirtschaftskraft der neuen Länder noch schwächer als bislang angenommen," Wirtschaft im Wandel, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), vol. 11(5), pages 134-145.
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  13. Schnabel, Claus, 2005. "Gewerkschaften und Arbeitgeberverbände: Organisationsgrade, Tarifbindung und Einflüsse auf Löhne und Beschäftigung," Discussion Papers 34, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
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  15. Heitger, Bernhard, 2001. "Minimum Wages and Employment: The Case of German Unification," Kiel Working Papers 1045, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
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  17. Schroeder, Wolfgang, 2000. "Industrielle Beziehungen in Ostdeutschland: Zwischen Eigensinn und Paternalismus," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Institutions and Social Change FS III 00-203, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  18. Michael Burda & Michael Funke, 1993. "German trade unions after unification — Third degree wage discriminating monopolists?," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 129(3), pages 537-560, September.
  19. Riphahn, Regina T. & Thalmaier, Anja & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 1999. "Report No. 2: Schaffung von Arbeitsplätzen für Geringqualifizierte," IZA Research Reports 2, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  20. Christian Grund, 2006. "Severance payments for dismissed employees in Germany," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 49-71, July.
  21. Franz, Wolfgang & Konig, Heinz, 1986. "The Nature and Causes of Unemployment in the Federal Republic of Germany since the 1970s: An Empirical Investigation," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 53(210(S)), pages S219-44, Supplemen.
  22. Bernhard Heitger, 2001. "Minimum Wages And Employment: The Case Of German Unification," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 1-15.
  23. Flaig, Gebhard & Steiner, Viktor, 1989. "Stability and Dynamic Properties of Labour Demand in West German Manufacturing," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 51(4), pages 395-412, November.
  24. Michael Funke & Felix FitzRoy, 1995. "Skills, Wages, and Employment in East and West Germany," IMF Working Papers 95/4, International Monetary Fund.
  25. Michael C. Burda & Wolfgang Härdle & Marlene Müller & Axel Werwatz, 1998. "Semiparametric analysis of German East-West migration intentions: facts and theory," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(5), pages 525-541.
  26. Henning Klodt, 2000. "Industrial Policy and the East German Productivity Puzzle," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(3), pages 315-333, 08.
  27. repec:zbw:iwhwiw:9-04-3 is not listed on IDEAS
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