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The evolution of German's values since reunification

  • Necker, Sarah
  • Voskort, Andrea

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.

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Paper provided by Walter Eucken Institut e.V. in its series Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics with number 13/13.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:aluord:1313
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  1. David G. Blanchflower & Richard Freeman, 1997. "The attitudinal legacy of Communist labor relations," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(3), pages 438-459, April.
  2. 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, vol. 25(1), pages 5-27, January.
  3. Dohmen Thomas & Falk Armin & Huffman David & Sunde Uwe & Schupp Jürgen & Wagner Gert G., 2009. "Individual Risk Attitudes: Measurement, Determinants and Behavioral Consequences," Research Memorandum 039, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  4. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2008. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes," CESifo Working Paper Series 2307, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Bauernschuster, Stefan & Falck, Oliver & Gold, Robert & Heblich, Stephan, 2012. "The shadows of the socialist past: Lack of self-reliance hinders entrepreneurship," Munich Reprints in Economics 20118, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. Cipriani, Marco & Giuliano, Paola & Jeanne, Olivier, 2007. "Like Mother Like Son? Experimental Evidence on the Transmission of Values from Parents to Children," IZA Discussion Papers 2768, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. 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.
  8. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
  9. Stigler, George J & Becker, Gary S, 1977. "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 76-90, March.
  10. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
  11. Henriette Engelhardt & 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.
  12. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
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