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