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The Biological Standard of Living in the two Germanies

Author

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  • Komlos, John
  • Kriwy, Peter

Abstract

Physical stature is used as a proxy for the biological standard of living in the two Germanies before and after unification in an analysis of a cross-sectional sample (1998) of adult heights, as well as among military recruits of the 1990s. West Germans tended to be taller than East Germans throughout the period under consideration. Contrary to official proclamations of a classless society, there were substantial social differences in physical stature in East-Germany. Social differences in height were greater in the East among females, and less among males than in the West. The difficulties experienced by the East-German population after 1961 is evident in the increase in social inequality of physical stature thereafter, as well as in the increasing gap relative to the height of the West-German population. After unification, however, there is a tendency for East-German males, but not of females, to catch up with their West-German counterparts.

Suggested Citation

  • Komlos, John & Kriwy, Peter, 2003. "The Biological Standard of Living in the two Germanies," Discussion Papers in Economics 55, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:55
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
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    3. Komlos, John, 1998. "Shrinking in a Growing Economy? The Mystery of Physical Stature during the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(03), pages 779-802, September.
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    Keywords

    living standards; welfare; socialism; capitalism; transformation; height; social inequality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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