Warum exportiert der Osten so wenig? Eine empirische Analyse der Exportaktivitäten deutscher Bundesländer
In the aftermath of re-unification, East German exports declined around 70% due to the breakdown of COMECON trade. Although since the mid-1990s export growth rates of the New Federal States were higher than those of their West German counterparts, export performance of East German States measured by the share of exports in GDP is still comparatively poor. Whereas for a long time the low export performance of East German producers was ascribed to competitive disadvantages, in the meantime structural deficits on the micro and/or macro level are often considered as the main reason. Using bilateral trade data of German Federal States, the present paper shows on the basis of an orthodox gravity model of trade that East German exports are explicitly lower than predicted by the model. But if the gravity model is augmented by additional variables representing structural differences between Federal States, the latter explain almost entirely the lower export performance of Eastern Germany. Thus, especially the smaller firm sizes and the lower shares of manufacturing industries in gross value added are identified as important explanatory factors of the comparatively weak export performance of the New German States.