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The Biological Standard of Living in the Two Germanies

21 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2001  

John Komlos

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich - Faculty of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Peter Kriwy

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

Date Written: September 2001

Abstract

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.

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

JEL Classification: I31

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: https://ssrn.com/abstract=283736

John Komlos (Contact Author)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Ludwigstrasse 28
Munich, D-80539
Germany

Peter Kriwy

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich ( email )

Ludwigstrasse 28 RG/4
Department of Sociology
D-80799 Munich
Germany

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