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The German spatial poverty divide: poorly endowed or bad luck?


  • Bönke, Timm
  • Schröder, Carsten


We study inter-temporal changes in poverty for Germany from year 1978 to 2003, and we employ the bootstrap method to test for statistical significance of results. All results are decomposed by household type and region. Poverty estimates are particularly high for single parents. Most striking, however, is the poverty divide between the old and newly-formed German Federal States, with poverty being significantly higher in the latter. We conduct a nonlinear Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition to quantify the separate contribution of regional differences in households' characteristics to the probability of being poor.

Suggested Citation

  • Bönke, Timm & Schröder, Carsten, 2009. "The German spatial poverty divide: poorly endowed or bad luck?," Discussion Papers 2009/6, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:20096

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1992:82:8:1131-1133_8 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Miles Corak & Michael Fertig & Marcus Tamm, 2008. "A Portrait Of Child Poverty In Germany," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 54(4), pages 547-571, December.
    3. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-766, May.
    4. Burkhauser, Richard V & Smeeding, Timothy M & Merz, Joachim, 1996. "Relative Inequality and Poverty in Germany and the United States Using Alternative Equivalence Scales," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 42(4), pages 381-400, December.
    5. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    6. Philip Oreopoulos & Mark Stabile & Randy Walld & Leslie L. Roos, 2008. "Short-, Medium-, and Long-Term Consequences of Poor Infant Health: An Analysis Using Siblings and Twins," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
    7. Stephen P. Jenkins & Christian Schluter & Gert G. Wagner, 2001. "The Dynamics of Child Poverty: Britain and Germany Compared," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 233, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    8. Stephen P. Jenkins & Christian Schluter, 2003. "Why Are Child Poverty Rates Higher in Britain than in Germany?: A Longitudinal Perspective," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(2).
    9. Finis Welch, 1999. "In Defense of Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1-17.
    10. Robert G. Valletta, 2006. "The Ins And Outs Of Poverty In Advanced Economies: Government Policy And Poverty Dynamics In Canada, Germany, Great Britain, And The United States," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 52(2), pages 261-284, June.
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    More about this item


    Poverty; decomposition; expenditure patterns; necessities; Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition; bootstrap; equivalence scale;

    JEL classification:

    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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