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Brown bag seminar | When capitalism takes over socialism: (Missing) Capital and East-West-German income inequality

On 26 April, Theresa Neef, doctoral student at Freie Universität Berlin, will be discussing her working paper titled "When capitalism takes over socialism: (Missing) Capital and East-West-German income inequality". The paper explores the reasons behind the persisting income differences between East and West Germany.

When capitalism takes over socialism: (Missing) Capital and East-West-German income inequality

Authors: Theresa Neef, Stefan Bach and Charlotte Bartels (both DIW Berlin)

Abstract

Thirty years after the German reunification, differences in income, wealth and living standards between East and West German households persist. Economic convergence is slowing down, while resentment and extreme voting behaviour are on the rise. In recent years, a critical debate about the adequacy of policies accompanying the German reunification has rekindled. This paper explores the reasons behind the persisting income differences by constructing Distributional National Accounts (DINA) for East and West Germany. We use the universe of individual income taxpayers, complement it with information on non-filers recorded in SOEP survey data and align incomes with National Accounts aggregates. This allows us to study the distribution of pre-tax income since 1990. We find that East German residents are still underrepresented at the top of the national income distribution and relate this finding to a lack of capital ownership among East Germans.

About the speaker

Theresa Neef is a research fellow at the EU Tax Observatory, and the Eastern Europe and Russia coordinator of the World Inequality Database. She is also a doctoral student at Freie Universität Berlin.

I am a research fellow at the EU Tax Observatory, and the Eastern Europe and Russia coordinator of the World Inequality Database. Further, I am a doctoral student at Freie Universität Berlin. I am based in Paris.

My research interests comprise public economics, inequality research, international taxation and economic history.

Interested in joining the SITE brown bag seminar?

The link to the seminar will be distributed by invitation only. If you are interested to attend the seminar – please contact site@hhs.se. Follow the instructions below:

  • Type the subject box with “Brown bag seminar *INSERT SEMINAR TITLE*”
  • Indicate your affiliation and field of interest.

For registered applicants, a Zoom link will be provided prior to the event via email with further instructions.

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