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East Germany Three Decades After the Wall Came Down: What has Been Achieved and What Should Economic Policy Do?

The persistent difference in productivity between East and West Germany not only results from the relative absence of large firms based in the East as many believe. Companies of all sizes exhibit an East-West productivity gap. The gap is larger in urban regions. Scarcity of skilled labour has emerged as the new barrier to business development. In order to boost productivity, economic policy should avoid additional subsidies that are conditional on creating jobs. Additionally, the potential of East German urban areas should be better explored. Mitigating the shortage in qualified workers requires in-migration of skilled labour from abroad, supported by an open mindset and environment.

15. July 2019

Authors Reint E. Gropp Gerhard Heimpold

Professor Reint E. Gropp, PhD

About the author

Professor Reint E. Gropp, PhD

Reint E. Gropp joined the Institute as President in November 2014. He is also a Professor of Economics at the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg. He is Associate Fellow of the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and serves as consultant for various central banks.

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