Institutional transition, social capital mix and local ties – Does Communist legacy explain low labour mobility?

This paper empirically analyses the question why East Germans facing weak regional labour markets show rather limited spatial mobility. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, our estimation of a simultaneous three equation ordered probit model shows that informal social capital reduces regional mobility while formal social capital supports it. Furthermore, we find that East Germans acculturated in a communist system are more invested in locally bounded informal social capital than in the mobility supporting formal social capital. Low spatial mobility of East Germans, we conclude, is to an important part attributable to a system specific social capital mix.

29. April 2010

Authors Peter Bönisch Lutz Schneider

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