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The Biological Standard of Living in the Two Germanies

John Komlos

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München - Faculty of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Peter Kriwy

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

September 2001

CESifo Working Paper Series No. 560

Physical stature is used as a proxy for the biological standard of living in the two Germanies before and after unification in an analysis of a cross-sectional sample (1998) of adult heights, as well as among military recruits of the 1990s. West Germans tended to be taller than East Germans throughout the period under consideration. Contrary to official proclamations of a classless society, there were substantial differences in physical stature in East-Germany. Social differences in height were greater in the East among females, and less among males than in the West. Spatial inequality was greater in the East than in the West, pointing to the relatively underdeveloped nature of the East-German rural sector. The difficulties experienced by the East-German population after 1961 is evident in the increase in social inequality of physical stature thereafter, as well as in the increasing gap relative to the height of the West-German population. After unification, however, there is a tendency for East-German males, but not of females, to catch up with their West-German counterparts.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 21

Keywords: Living Standards, Welfare, Socialism, Capitalism, Transformation

JEL Classification: I31

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Date posted: September 25, 2001  

Suggested Citation

Komlos, John and Kriwy, Peter, The Biological Standard of Living in the Two Germanies (September 2001). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 560. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=283736

Contact Information

John Komlos (Contact Author)
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München - Faculty of Economics ( email )
Ludwigstrasse 28
Munich, D-80539
CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)
Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Peter Kriwy
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München ( email )
Ludwigstrasse 28 RG/4
Department of Sociology
D-80799 Munich
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References:  27
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