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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. Dennis J. Snower & David T. Coe, 1996. "Policy Complementarities: The Case for Fundamental Labor Market Reform," IMF Working Papers 96/93, International Monetary Fund.
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  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Michael C. Burda & Jennifer Hunt, 2001. "From Reunification to Economic Integration: Productivity and the Labor Market in Eastern Germany," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(2), pages 1-92.
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  11. Burda, Michael C & Funke, Michael, 1991. "German Trade Unions After Unification: Third Degree Wage Discriminating Monopolists?," CEPR Discussion Papers 573, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Joachim Ragnitz, 2004. "Transferleistungen für die neuen Länder – eine Begriffsbestimmung," Wirtschaft im Wandel, Halle Institute for Economic Research, vol. 10(9-10), pages 288-289.
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  14. 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).
  15. Hans-Werner Sinn, 1995. "Staggering along: wages policy and investment support in East Germany," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 3(4), pages 403-426, December.
  16. Burda, Michael C. & Härdle, Wolfgang & Müller, Marlene & Werwatz, Axel, 1997. "Semiparametric analysis of German East-West migration intentions: Facts and theory," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1998,3, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  17. Fuchs, Johann & Weber, Brigitte, 2005. "Neuschätzung der Stillen Reserve und des Erwerbspersonenpotenzials für Ostdeutschland (einschl. Berlin-Ost)," IAB-Forschungsbericht 200518, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  18. Felix Fitzroy & Michael Funke, 1998. "Skills, Wages and Employment in East and West Germany," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(5), pages 459-467.
  19. Bonin, Holger & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2000. "The Post-Unification German Labor Market," IZA Discussion Papers 185, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  20. Henning Klodt, 2000. "Industrial Policy and the East German Productivity Puzzle," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(3), pages 315-333, 08.
  21. Christian Grund, 2006. "Severance payments for dismissed employees in Germany," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 49-71, July.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
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