Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - High Dimensional Nonstationary Time Series

SFB649DP2017 003

The Economics of German Unification after Twenty-five Years: Lessons for Korea

Michael C. Burda
Mark Weder

This paper reviews the performance of the East German economy in the turbulent quarter-century following reunification and draws some conclusions for the reunification of North and South Korea. In this period, the gap in output per capita between East and West Germany declined at a speed not far from empirical estimates of the
neoclassical growth model, yet systematic total factor productivity
differentials persist despite identical institutional frameworks and
significant investment in the eastern regions. At the same time, regional
disparities in income, well-being, and health are little different from those found within West Germany, and net migration has ceased. On this human metric, German unification has been an unqualified success. For Korea, an effort of this dimension will be costly. A back-of-the- envelope calculation suggests that Korean unification will cost roughly twice as much as its German counterpart.


JEL Classification:
P2, O11, E02