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East West German wage convergence - How far have we got?

  • Steiner, Viktor
  • Wagner, Kersten
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    At the start of the German unification process it was a commonly held view that east German living conditions will converge to west Geman levels within a few years. This view was not only held by notoriously optimistic politicians but also by a great many of professional economists. With hindsight, this optimism turned out as unfounded. Although living standards have improved substantially for the great majority of east Germans, this is more related to the huge west German transfers than productivity improvements of the east German economy. For political reasons, wage increases stipulated in collective bargaining agreements were detached from economic factors, which the majority of economists considers the main culprit for the dramatic decline in employment and the unprecedented increase in unemployment in the east German economy.

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    Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 97-25.

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    Date of creation: 1997
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:5128
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    1. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
    2. John P. Haisken-DeNew & Christoph M. Schmidt, . "Inter-Industry and Inter-Region Differentials: Mechanics and Interpretation," Working Papers 9504, SELAPO Center for Human Resources.
    3. Alan B. Krueger & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1995. "A Comparative Analysis of East and West German Labor Markets: Before and After Unification," NBER Chapters, in: Differences and Changes in Wage Structures, pages 405-446 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 1994. "International Differences in Male Wage Inequality: Institutions versus Market Forces," NBER Working Papers 4678, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Edward J. Bird & Johannes Schwarze & Gert Wagner, 1994. "Wage effects of the move toward free markets in East Germany," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(3), pages 390-400, April.
    6. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1, October.
    7. Christoph Schmidt & Klaus Zimmerman, 1990. "Work Characteristics, Firm Size and Wages," Working Papers 644, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    8. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
    9. Sinn, Gerlinde & Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1992. "Kaltstart. Volkswirtschaftliche Aspekte der Deutschen Vereinigung," Monograph, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, edition 2, number urn:isbn:9783161459429, May.
    10. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
    11. M. Burda & C. Schmidt, 1997. "Getting Behind The East-West Wage Differential: Theory and Evidence," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1997,77, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
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