From District Capital to State Capital: What are the Consequences of Rebuilding the East German States for the System of Cities?
20 years after the German unification, one may ask what consequences for the system of East German cities follow from the changes of the institutional framework. It may be expected that gains or losses of a location in the hierarchy of central places significantly affect the outcome of economic activity as well as the accumulation of – particularly human – capital. The reorganisation of countries on the territory of the former GDR that has elevated five former district capitals to the status of state capitals while the other ones became urban municipalities has created a model case whose implications were investigated by the IWH. The main objective was to identify a pattern of group formation within the former district capitals on the basis of socioeconomic indicators that coincides with the subgroups out of them with and without the status of a capital state. By means of cluster analysis, we have found that already from 1995 to 2000, differences between both groups with regard to income, structure of employment, human capital, and other indicators were significantly. In the period from 2002 to 2007, the spread of income is growing not only between both groups but also within the group of state capitals, dividing their cluster. We can conclude that the allocation of political institutions of higher centrality has influence on local economic development.