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Women and the labour market in East and West Germany: The role of socialist legacy and pre-socialist tradition

Michael Wyrwich ()

VfS Annual Conference 2019 (Leipzig): 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Democracy and Market Economy from Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association

Abstract: There is a successful and growing number of studies published in top-economics journals that exploit the division and re-unification of Germany as a natural experiment for analysing the effects of political regimes on economic behaviour. One strand of the literature shows that socialism shaped also the attitude toward working women. Against the background, of higher pre-war female labour supply in East Germany, this paper shows an almost negligible long-term socialist treatment effect on female labour force participation. A cautious interpretation of this finding is that any socialist legacy effect on attitudes is not visible in actual behaviour. Another novel finding is that social acceptance of working women today is affected by pre-war differences in female labour supply. This finding corresponds to a mark-up of married East German women in work in pre-War Germany. The paper exemplifies that considering the pre-separation history of Germany is pivotal to enhance the credibility of the flourishing research on the natural experiment of German separation and re-unification.

Keywords: Female labour force participation; Gender; Attitudes toward work; Regional labour markets (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J16 J22 J23 N34 P25 P30 R23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his and nep-lma
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