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The Slow Decline of East Germany

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  • Harald Uhlig

Abstract

Fifteen years after German reunification, the facts about slow regional convergence have born out the prediction of Barro (1991), except that migration out of East Germany has not slowed down. I document that in particular the 18-29 year old are leaving East Germany, and that the emigration has accelerated in recent years. I document that low wages, high unemployment and increasing reliance on social security persist across wide regions of East Germany together with these migration patterns. To understand these patterns, I use an extension of the standard labor search model introduced in Uhlig (2006, 2008) by allowing for migration and network externalities. In that theory, two equilibria can result: one with a high networking rate, high average labor productivity, low unemployment and no emigration ("West Germany'') and one with a low networking rate, low average labor productivity, high unemployment and a constant rate of emigration ("East Germany''). The model does not imply any obviously sound policies to move from the weakly networked equilibrium to the highly networked equilibrium.

Suggested Citation

  • Harald Uhlig, 2008. "The Slow Decline of East Germany," NBER Working Papers 14553, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14553
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    Cited by:

    1. Jauer, Julia & Liebig, Thomas & Martin, John P. & Puhani, Patrick A., 2014. "Migration as an adjustment mechanism in the crisis? A comparison of Europe and the United States," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-537, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    2. Spies, Julia, 2010. "Network and border effects: Where do foreign multinationals locate in Germany?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 20-32, January.
    3. Petrunyk Inna & Pfeifer Christian, 2016. "Life Satisfaction in Germany After Reunification: Additional Insights on the Pattern of Convergence," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 236(2), pages 217-239, March.
    4. Robert Orlowski & Regina T. Riphahn, 2009. "The East German wage structure after transition," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 17(4), pages 629-659, October.
    5. Michael C. Burda & Mark Weder, 2017. "The Economics of German Unification after Twenty-five Years: Lessons for Korea," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2017-009, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    6. Sebastian Vollmer & Hajo Holzmann & Florian Ketterer & Stephan Klasen, 2013. "Distribution dynamics of regional GDP per employee in unified Germany," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 491-509, April.
    7. Petrick, Martin & Zier, Patrick, 2012. "Common Agricultural Policy effects on dynamic labour use in agriculture," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 671-678.
    8. Zier, Patrick, 2013. "Econometric impact assessment of the Common Agricultural Policy in East German agriculture," Studies on the Agricultural and Food Sector in Transition Economies, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO), volume 71, number 71.
    9. Benjamin Wirth, 2013. "Ranking German regions using interregional migration - What does internal migration tells us about regional well-being?," ERSA conference papers ersa13p1254, European Regional Science Association.
    10. Petrick, Martin & Zier, Patrick, 2010. "Cap Impacts On Labour Use In East German Agriculture," 50st Annual Conference, Braunschweig, Germany, September 29-October 1, 2010 93962, German Association of Agricultural Economists (GEWISOLA).
    11. van Hoorn, André & Maseland, Robbert, 2010. "Cultural differences between East and West Germany after 1991: Communist values versus economic performance?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 791-804, December.
    12. 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.
    13. André Van Hoorn & Robbert Maseland, 2010. "Cultural Differences Between East and West Germany After 1991: Communist Values vs. Economic Performance?," Post-Print hal-00911822, HAL.
    14. Gert G. Wagner, 2015. "Drei Fußnoten der Wirtschaftswissenschaften zur deutschen Einheit - und eine Fußnote zur wissenschaftlichen Politikberatung," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1511, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    15. Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln & Matthias Schündeln, 2009. "Who stays, who goes, who returns?," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 17(4), pages 703-738, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • P20 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - General
    • P25 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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