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East German Exports: Remarkable Catch-up, but Still Lagging Behind

German reunification entailed severe adjustment processes in East German export industries. With political and economic transition in Eastern Europe, at that time the main export market for East German producers, export demand initially collapsed in the early 1990s. Additionally, the introduction of the Deutschmark in Eastern Germany amounted to a massive revaluation, and international competitiveness of East German producers deteriorated. However, manufacturers in the New Federal States opened up new markets, especially in Western Europe and the Americas. As a consequence, after the downturn of construction activity and investment in the mid-1990s, international trade became the driving force of GDP-growth in Eastern Germany. Although since then, goods exports of the New Federal States grew twice as much as those of Western Germany, export ratio (goods exports as a percentage of GDP) only amounts to 22 per cent in Eastern Germany, compared to 42 per cent in the western part of the country. Even in comparison to Eastern European countries in transition, openness to trade of the New Federal States is still comparatively low. As an empirical analysis shows, this must be largely traced back to smaller firm sizes in the New Federal States as well as to the lower importance of manufacturing industries, which are traditionally more export-oriented. Moreover, East German manufacturers largely specialized on intermediate inputs, which are supplied to final assembly lines in Western Germany, but are not recorded as exports. Thereby, East German export performance is considerably underestimated.

22. October 2009

Authors Götz Zeddies

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Aktuelle Trends: Rendite in der ostdeutschen Industrie seit fünf Jahren höher als in Westdeutschland

Hans-Ulrich Brautzsch

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 10, 20 Jahre Deutsche Einheit - Teil 1 - 2009

Abstract

In den ostdeutschen Unternehmen des Verarbeitenden Gewerbes betrug die Rendite im Jahr 2007 – aktuellere Daten liegen nicht vor – im Durchschnitt 5,1%, in Westdeutschland lag sie bei 3,7%. Damit stieg sie in der ostdeutschen Industrie das fünfte Jahr in Folge kräftiger als in der westdeutschen Branche. Dies ergab eine im Auftrag des IWH regelmäßig durchgeführte Sonderauswertung der Kostenstrukturen, die jährlich vom Statistischen Bundesamt bei einer repräsentativen Stichprobe von west- und ostdeutschen Unternehmen mit 20 und mehr Beschäftigten erhoben werden.

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The Long Way to Convergence

Rolf Scheufele Udo Ludwig

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 10, 20 Jahre Deutsche Einheit - Teil 1 - 2009

Abstract

After nearly 20 years of economic development in unified Germany, East German states compared to the West German Leander still lag behind in terms of welfare. During the years immediately following unification, East Germany displayed high economic growth, but lost its relative strength largely in recent times. Therefore, this paper asks whether East Germany is still catching up in terms of per capita output. By considering the cross- section of German states, one can estimate an average convergence speed of approximately 2% per year. However, this catching-up process is partly driven by demographic effects and by migration from East to West Germany. If one considers a time series test of convergence, a catching-up process can still be identified, although the speed is lower and estimated to be around 1%. This implies that the convergence process of East Germany will need further decades until the regional gap will be closed.

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Einleitung

Ulrich Blum

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 10, 20 Jahre Deutsche Einheit - Teil 1 - 2009

Abstract

Im Vorfeld des 20. Jahrestages des Mauerfalls und, im kommenden Jahr, des 20. Jahrestages der Deutschen Einheit hat das öffentliche Interesse an Fragen der Transformationsökonomik beträchtlich zugenommen. Das IWH – selbst ein „Kind“ der Deutschen Einheit – widmet sich in seiner Kernkompetenz Analysen der wirtschaftlichen Umbauprozesse in Post-Transformationsökonomien, insbesondere in Ostdeutschland, seit der Wende und deren Integration in das europäische und internationale wirtschaftliche und soziale Umfeld. Das IWH berichtet regelmäßig in seinen eigenen sowie in externen Publikationsorgangen über die Entwicklungsprozesse der vormals zentralverwaltungswirtschaftlich organisierten Länder.

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IWH-Industrieumfrage im September 2009: Geschäftsklima verharrt auf Tiefstand

Cornelia Lang

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 10, 20 Jahre Deutsche Einheit - Teil 1 - 2009

Abstract

Das Geschäftsklima im Verarbeitenden Gewerbe Ostdeutschlands hat sich nicht weiter abgekühlt. Das zeigen die Ergebnisse der IWH-Industrieumfrage vom September unter rund 300 Unternehmen. Der Saldo aus positiven und negativen Bewertungen der aktuellen Geschäftslage hat seit Jahresbeginn erstmals wieder den negativen Bereich verlassen, und die Geschäftsaussichten werden gegenüber Juli nahezu unverändert bewertet: Optimistische und pessimistische Erwartungen halten sich insgesamt weiterhin die Waage.

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The Manufacturing Sector in East Germany on a Path from De-industrialization to Re-industrialization: Are there Economically Sustainable Structures?

Gerhard Heimpold

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 10, 20 Jahre Deutsche Einheit - Teil 1 - 2009

Abstract

The contribution comprises an analysis how the manufacturing sector in East Germany has developed in the post-transition period after 1990. A set of economic performance indicators is used. The analysis shows a considerable growth of gross value added and productivity. However, the growth of productivity occurred at the expense of employment. On average, in 2008, the East German manufacturing sector reached 4/5th of the productivity level of the West German level. As far as the endowment with growth determinants is concerned, the manufacturing industry in the New German Länder has undertaken considerable efforts to modernize its fixed capital stock. The endowment with human capital measured by the proportion of employees possessing a university degree is as high as in the western part of Germany. However, the investigation reveals a number of deficits, too. Data on Research and Development (R&D) expenditures and R&D staff in the manufacturing sector reveal, on average, lower R&D activities in the East German manufacturing sector. This is resulting from specific structures of the East German manufacturing sector: dominance of small firms, lack of large firms possessing headquarters and conducting own R&D. Complementary, the share of technology-driven industries is lower, and the proportion of labor intensive industries is larger in comparison with the West German manufacturing sector. In addition, an investigation of functional structures of employment reveals a proportion of employment in production functions which is above the West German average, whereas the opposite is the case with the proportion of employment in service functions. For further strengthening the East German manufacturing sector, structural change toward technology-intensive and human capital-intensive economic activities has to be continued.

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The Standing of the East German Cities within the German System of Cities: An Interim Review on the Basis of Economic Indicators 20 Years after the German Unification

Peter Franz

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 10, 20 Jahre Deutsche Einheit - Teil 1 - 2009

Abstract

The hopes of the East German citizens coupled with the unification in 1990 were not only directed to their personal fortune, but also concerned the amelioration of the living conditions in their cities. Twenty years after this date, we can strike an interim balance how far these hopes have been become true. For this purpose, the thirteen largest East German cities (without Berlin) are compared to cities of similar size in three West German regions (South, North, Center represented by North Rhine/Westphalia). The indicators chosen rely to the cities’ economic and fiscal conditions. The indicators paint a differentiated picture: The average income per capita in the East German cities is still lower than in the West German cities and unemployment rates are still above the West German level. With respect to future growth potential, the East German cities show a relatively good endowment with qualified human capital, with public universities and research institutions. In contrast to that, the small size of the firms and the small number of firm headquarters are unfavourable for a dynamic growth in the future. Another persistent difference between East and West is the low level of public revenues, which keeps the East German cities dependent on Federal grants. The city officials were successful in cutting payroll costs and reducing the number of civil servants. In spite of the diverse depicted economic problems still to be solved, the East German cities over the years have shown impressive endurance in catching-up.

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Out-migration and Regional Convergence

Alexander Kubis Lutz Schneider

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 10, 20 Jahre Deutsche Einheit - Teil 1 - 2009

Abstract

Since 1989, the migration deficit of East Germany has accumulated to 1.8 million people. Against this background, the contribution analyses the relationship between regional migration and regional growth. From a theoretical point of view, one might find reasons in favour and in opposition to a convergence supporting function of migration. If migrants are taken from the upper tail of the human capital distribution of a poor region, divergence is the probable outcome. If on the other hand people with low human capital endowment move to richer regions, migration might enhance regional convergence. The empirical analysis how regional migration and convergence are interrelated is performed on the basis of German districts within a period from 1995 to 2006. The concept of ß-convergence is applied and a cross-section model controlling for spatial correlation between the error terms is estimated. The results indicate convergence on the regional level; East German regions seem to catch up particularly fast. The effect of migration is twofold. Out-migration from poor region is correlated with strong growth in these regions. However, the corresponding migration towards richer region is accompanied with growth in these regions, too. Therefore, the impact of migration on convergence is uncertain. Nevertheless, the outcome is in favour of an aggregate benefit of migration if people move from poor to rich regions.

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