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Wage Convergence and Inequality after Unification: (East) Germany in Transition

  • Gernandt, Johannes
  • Pfeiffer, Friedhelm

This paper investigates the wage convergence between East German workers and their West German counterparts after reunification. Our research is based on a comparison of three groups of workers defined as stayers, migrants and commuters to West Germany, who lived in East Germany in 1989, with groups of West German statistical twin workers, all taken from the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). According to our findings, wage convergence for stayers is roughly 75 percent and for commuters 85 percent. Wages of migrants to West Germany equal the ones of their West German statistical twins. We conclude that labor markets in East and West Germany are still characterized by wage differences but that the degree of inequality in both regions converged.

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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 08-022.

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Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:7294
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  1. Johannes Gernandt & Friedhelm Pfeiffer, 2006. "Rising Wage Inequality in Germany," Working Papers of the Research Group Heterogenous Labor 06-12, Research Group Heterogeneous Labor, University of Konstanz/ZEW Mannheim.
  2. Edwin Leuven & Barbara Sianesi, 2003. "PSMATCH2: Stata module to perform full Mahalanobis and propensity score matching, common support graphing, and covariate imbalance testing," Statistical Software Components S432001, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 19 Jan 2015.
  3. Barbara Sianesi, 2001. "Propensity score matching," United Kingdom Stata Users' Group Meetings 2001 12, Stata Users Group, revised 23 Aug 2001.
  4. Richard Blundell & Lorraine Dearden & Barbara Sianesi, 2003. "Evaluating the impact of education on earnings in the UK: Models, methods and results from the NCDS," IFS Working Papers W03/20, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Jennifer Hunt, 1998. "Post-Unification Wage Growth in East Germany," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 304, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  6. Brücker, Herbert & Trübswetter, Parvati, 2004. "Do the Best Go West? An Analysis of the Self-Selection of Employed East-West Migrants in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 986, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Paul Krugman, 1994. "Past and prospective causes of high unemployment," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Jan, pages 49-98.
  8. Michael C. Burda & Jennifer Hunt, 2001. "From Reunification to Economic Integration: Productivity and the Labor Market in Eastern Germany," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(2), pages 1-92.
  9. Franz, Wolfgang & Steiner, Viktor, 1999. "Wages in the East German transition process: facts and explanations," ZEW Discussion Papers 99-40, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  10. Lechner, Michael & Pfeiffer, Friedhelm & Giesecke O'Shea, Linda, 1992. "Expected job loss in East Germany shortly before German unification," ZEW Discussion Papers 92-10, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  11. Kohn, Karsten, 2006. "Rising Wage Dispersion, After All! The German Wage Structure at the Turn of the Century," IZA Discussion Papers 2098, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Reinhard Hujer & Bernd Fitzenberger & Reinhold Schnabel & Thomas E. MaCurdy, 2001. "Testing for uniform wage trends in West-Germany: A cohort analysis using quantile regressions for censored data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 41-86.
  13. Eswar S. Prasad, 2004. "The Unbearable Stability of the German Wage Structure: Evidence and Interpretation," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(2), pages 354-385.
  14. Christian Dustmann & Johannes Ludsteck & Uta Schönberg, 2009. "Revisiting the German Wage Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 843-881, May.
  15. Hauser, Richard & Fabig, Holger, 1999. "Labor Earnings and Household Income Mobility in Reunified Germany: A Comparison of the Eastern and Western States," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 45(3), pages 303-24, September.
  16. Gerlinde Sinn & Hans-Werner Sinn, 1994. "Jumpstart: The Economic Unification of Germany," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262691728, June.
  17. Jennifer Hunt, 2006. "Staunching Emigration from East Germany: Age and the Determinants of Migration," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(5), pages 1014-1037, 09.
  18. Edward J. Bird & Johannes Schwarze & Gert G. Wagner, 1994. "Wage Effects of the Move toward Free Markets in East Germany," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(3), pages 390-400, April.
  19. 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.
  20. Frank Heiland, 2004. "Trends in East-West German Migration from 1989 to 2002," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 11(7), pages 173-194, September.
  21. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1, July.
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