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On the Origin of the German East-West Population Gap

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  • Christoph Eder
  • Martin Halla

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 gap in population has remained remarkably sharp in space and is growing.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Eder & Martin Halla, 2018. "On the Origin of the German East-West Population Gap," Economics working papers 2018-17, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  • Handle: RePEc:jku:econwp:2018_17
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Institutions; wartime violence against civilians; regional migration; World War II; Germany; spatial distribution; regional economic activity;

    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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