The Social Capital Legacy of Communism-results from the Berlin Wall Experiment
European Journal of Political Economy,
In this paper we establish a direct link between the communist history, the resulting structure of social capital, and attitudes toward spatial mobility. We argue that the communist regime induced a specific social capital mix that discouraged geographic mobility even after its demise. Theoretically, we integrate two branches of the social capital literature into one more comprehensive framework distinguishing an open type and a closed type of social capital. Using the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) we take advantage of the natural experiment that separated Germany into two parts after the WWII to identify the causal effect of social capital on mobility. We estimate a three equation ordered probit model and provide strong empirical evidence for our theoretical propositions.
Can Korea Learn from German Unification?
IWH Discussion Papers,
We first analyze pre-unification similarities and differences between the two Germanys and the two Koreas in terms of demographic, social, political and economic status. An important issue is the degree of international openness. “Stone-age” type communism of North Korea and the seclusion of the population prevented inner-Korean contacts and contacts with rest of the world. This may create enormous adjustment costs if institutions, especially informal institutions, change. We go on by showing how transition and integration interact in a potential unification process based on the World Bank Revised Minimum Standard Model (RMSM) and on the Salter-Swan-Meade model. In doing so, we relate the macro and external impacts on an open economy to its macro-sectoral structural dynamics. The findings suggest that it is of utmost importance to relate microeconomic policies to the macroeconomic ties and side conditions for both parts of the country. Evidence from Germany suggests that the biggest general error in unification was neglecting these limits, especially limitations to policy instruments. Econometric analysis supports these findings. In the empirical part, we consider unification as an “investment” and track down the (by-and-large immediate to medium-term) costs and the (by-and-large long-term) benefits of retooling a retarded communist economy. We conclude that, from a South-Korean
perspective, the Korean unification will become relatively much more expensive than the German unification and, thus, not only economic, but to a much larger degree political considerations must include the tying of neighboring countries into the convergence process. We finally provide, 62 years after Germany’s division and 20 years after unification, an outlook on the strength of economic inertia in order to show that it may take much more than a generation to compensate the damage inflicted by the communist system.
Why are East Germans not More Mobile? Analyzing the Impact of Social Ties on Regional Migration
IWH Discussion Papers,
Individuals’ preferences in transition regions are still shaped by the former communist system. We test this ‘Communism legacy’ hypothesis by examining the impact of acculturation in a communist regime on social network participation and, as a consequence, on preferences for spatial mobility. We focus on the paradigmatic case of East Germany where mobility intentions seem to be substantially weaker than in the western part. Applying an IV ordered probit approach we firstly find that East German people acculturated in a Communist system are more invested in locally bounded informal social capital than West Germans. Secondly, we confirm that membership in such locally bounded social networks reduces the intention to move away. Thirdly, after controlling for the social network effect the mobility gap between East and West substantially reduces. Low spatial mobility of the eastern population, we conclude, is to an important part attributable to a social capital endowment characteristic to post-communist economies.
Considerable Export Potentials in Eastern Germany
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
For a long time, the Federal Republic of Germany is one of the countries with the highest export performance in the world. But a closer examination of East- and West-Germany reveals substantial regional differences. The collabse of the markets in the eastern European countries, which were the main trading partners of GDR, after the breakdown of communism caused a sustainable decline of East-German exports. Nevertheless it was expected that the economic recovery in the former communist countries and the access to new export markets in the western world would cause an upward movement of East-German Trade. Although during the last years East-German exports grew faster than those of Western Germany, the east German share in Germanys total exports is still comparatively low. On the basis of a gravity-model of trade, bilateral export potencials are empirically analysed. This is done for the Federal Republic of Germany as a whole, and seperately forEast and West-Germany. Afterwards, the calculated export potencials are compared with actual exports. The results show that Germany as a whole exceeds its export potencial against the majority of its main trading partners. The differentiated analysis for East and West-Germany supports the hypothesis that Germanys high export performance stems from the western part of the country, whereas the eastern part exploits its export potencial with Germanys main trading partners only to the half. The unexploited export potencials as well as the higher concentration on the fast-growing central and eastern European markets imply considerable potencials for East-German exports to grow in the future.