On the Origin and Composition of the German East-West Population Gap
Sprache des Titels:
The East-West gap in the German population is believed to originate from migrants
escaping the socialist regime in the German Democratic Republic (GDR).We use newly
collected regional data and the combination of a regression discontinuity design in space
with a difference-in-differences approach to document that the largest part of this gap
is due to a massive internal migration wave 3 years prior to the establishment of the
GDR. The timing and spatial pattern of this migration movement suggest that the
dominant motive was escaping physical assault by the Soviet army and not avoiding
the socialist regime. The skill composition of these migrants shows a strong positive selection.
The gap in population has remained remarkably sharp in space and is growing.