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How Much of a Socialist Legacy? The Reemergence of Entrepreneurship in the East German Transformation to a Market Economy

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  • Michael Fritsch

    () (School of Economics and Business Administration, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena)

  • Elisabeth Bublitz

    () (Friedrich Schiller University Jena, School of Economics and Business Administration)

  • Alina Rusakova

    () (School of Economics and Business Administration, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena)

  • Michael Wyrwich

    () (School of Economics and Business Administration, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena)

Abstract

The 40 years of socialist regime in East Germany were characterized by a massive anti-entrepreneurship policy. We investigate the reemergence of entrepreneurship in East Germany during its transformation to a market economy following the collapse of the East German state in 1989. It took about 15 years until self-employment levels in East Germany reached those of West Germany. Despite this catch up, we find a number of peculiarities in East German self-employment that appear to be a continuing legacy of the socialist period. In particular, older and better-educated East Germans have a relatively low propensity for starting an own business. Moreover, East German workers tend to have a lower variety of skills than their West German counterparts, which could explain a lower propensity for start up in the early years after reunification. Despite this socialist imprint, we also find considerable continuity in the levels of self-employment in the 1920s and those after transition to a market economy, suggesting the existence of a long-lasting regional entrepreneurship culture.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Fritsch & Elisabeth Bublitz & Alina Rusakova & Michael Wyrwich, 2012. "How Much of a Socialist Legacy? The Reemergence of Entrepreneurship in the East German Transformation to a Market Economy," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-042, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2012-042
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The imprint of socialism on entrepreneurship
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-07-30 19:23:00
    2. [経済]起業家精神と社会主義の遺産
      by himaginary in himaginaryの日記 on 2012-07-31 12:00:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Fackler, Daniel, 2014. "Establishment survival in East and West Germany: A comparative analysis," Discussion Papers 90, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    2. Gheorghe Savoiu & Marian Siminica, 2016. "Disparities, Discrepancies and Specific Concentration – Diversification Trends in the Group of Central and East European Ex-Socialist Countries," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 18(43), pages 503-503, August.
    3. Michael Wyrwich, 2015. "Entrepreneurship and the intergenerational transmission of values," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 191-213, June.
    4. David B. Audretsch & Erik E. Lehmann & Matthias Menter, 2016. "Public cluster policy and new venture creation," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 43(4), pages 357-381, December.
    5. Michael Fritsch & Michael Wyrwich, 2015. "The Persistence of Regional Entrepreneurship - Are all types of Self-Employment Equally Important?," Jena Economic Research Papers 2015-008, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    6. Oliver Falck & Robert Gold & Stephan Heblich, 2017. "Lifting the iron curtain: school-age education and entrepreneurial intentions," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(5), pages 1111-1148.
    7. Moritz Zöllner & Michael Fritsch & Michael Wyrwich, 2016. "An Evaluation of German Active Labor Market Policies and its Entrepreneurship Promotion," Jena Economic Research Papers 2016-022, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    8. Viktor Slavtchev & Michael Wyrwich, 2017. "TV and Entrepreneurship," Jena Economic Research Papers 2017-007, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    9. Erik E. Lehmann & Matthias Menter, 2016. "University–industry collaboration and regional wealth," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 41(6), pages 1284-1307, December.
    10. Elisabeth Bublitz & Michael Fritsch & Michael Wyrwich, 2015. "Balanced Skills and the City: An Analysis of the Relationship between Entrepreneurial Skill Balance, Thickness, and Innovation," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 91(4), pages 475-508, October.
    11. Michael Fritsch & Alina Sorgner & Michael Wyrwich & Evguenii Zazdravnykh, 2016. "Historical Shocks and Persistence of Economic Activity: Evidence from a Unique Natural Experiment," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1607, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Apr 2016.
    12. Michael Fritsch & Michael Wyrwich, 2016. "Does persistence in start-up activity reflect persistence in social capital?," Chapters,in: Handbook of Social Capital and Regional Development, chapter 4, pages 82-107 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    13. Michael Fritsch & Michael Wyrwich, 2017. "Persistence of Regional Entrepreneurship: Causes, Effects, and Directions for Future Research," Jena Economic Research Papers 2017-003, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    14. Charlie Karlsson & Peter Warda, 2014. "Entrepreneurship and innovation networks," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 393-398, August.
    15. Michael Wyrwich & Michael Stuetzer & Rolf Sternberg, 2016. "Entrepreneurial role models, fear of failure, and institutional approval of entrepreneurship: a tale of two regions," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 467-492, March.
    16. Michael Fritsch & Alexander Kritikos & Alina Sorgner, 2013. "Drivers of Self-Employment - A Multivariate Decomposition Analysis for the Case of Germany," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-006, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    17. Alina Sorgner & Michael Fritsch, 2013. "Occupational Choice and Self-Employment - Are They Related?," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-001, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    18. Michael Fritsch & Alina Sorgner & Michael Wyrwich & Evguenii Zazdravnykh, 2014. "Regional Transitions from Socialism to Entrepreneurship: Russia and Germany compared," ERSA conference papers ersa14p281, European Regional Science Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Entrepreneurship; self-employment; new business formation; transformation; East Germany;

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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