The Long Way to Convergence
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.