On the Origin and Composition of the German East-West Population Gap

36 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2019

See all articles by Christoph Eder

Christoph Eder

University of Innsbruck

Martin Halla

Johannes Kepler University Linz - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

The East-West gap in the German population is believed to originate from migrants escaping the socialist regime in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). We use newly collected regional data and the combination of a regression discontinuity design in space with a difference-in-differences approach to document that the largest part of this gap is due to a massive internal migration wave 3 years prior to the establishment of the GDR. The timing and spatial pattern of this migration movement suggest that the dominant motive was escaping physical assault by the Soviet army and not avoiding the socialist regime. The skill composition of these migrants shows a strong positive selection. The gap in population has remained remarkably sharp in space and is growing.

Keywords: institutions, wartime violence against civilians, selective migration, regional migration, World War II, Germany, spatial distribution, regional economic activity

JEL Classification: N44, N94, R23, R11, R12, J61

Suggested Citation

Eder, Christoph and Halla, Martin, On the Origin and Composition of the German East-West Population Gap. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3318805 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3318805

Christoph Eder (Contact Author)

University of Innsbruck

Martin Halla

Johannes Kepler University Linz - Department of Economics ( email )

Altenbergerstrasse 69
A-4040 Linz, 4040
Austria

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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