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The evolution of German's values since reunification

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  • Necker, Sarah
  • Voskort, Andrea

Abstract

Exploiting the natural experiment of German reunification, we study whether having experienced socialism has an enduring effect on people's basic values. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, we show that individuals that lived in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) assign different importance to six out of nine life goals. Our evidence suggests two reactions, adaption to policies/conditions in the GDR as well as switching to the opposite values. The strength of the reactions varies with East Germans' appreciation of reunification. Intergenerational transmission seems to contribute to the preservation of socialist in influence across generations; it does not differ between East and West Germany. We show that self-reported values are behaviorally relevant. Differences in values provide a possible explanation for persistent differences in behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Necker, Sarah & Voskort, Andrea, 2013. "The evolution of German's values since reunification," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 13/13, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:aluord:1313
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Henriette Engelhardt-Wölfler & Heike Trappe & Jaap Dronkers, 2002. "Differences in Family Policies and the Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 6(11), pages 295-324, May.
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    3. Cipriani, Marco & Giuliano, Paola & Jeanne, Olivier, 2013. "Like mother like son? Experimental evidence on the transmission of values from parents to children," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 100-111.
    4. Stefan Bauernschuster & Helmut Rainer, 2012. "Political regimes and the family: how sex-role attitudes continue to differ in reunified Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(1), pages 5-27, January.
    5. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2012. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 645-677.
    6. Henriette Engelhardt & Heike Trappe & Jaap Dronkers, 2002. "Differences in family policy and the intergenerational transmission of divorce: a comparison between the former East and West Germany," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2002-008, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    endogenous preferences; socialism; intergenerational transmission;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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