Abstract Title

Reunification and Rising Inequality in Germany

Abstract

This research explores current trends and causes of inequality in the Federal Republic of Germany. Two forms of inequality include: 1) economic inequality which describes the income and wealth gap between the poorest and wealthiest individuals in a country; and 2) social inequality which describes the differences in opportunities and rewards based on racial, gender or ethnic categories. Liberal market economies like the United States are assumed to have the highest levels of inequality among advanced industrial countries. However, the European Union and its strongest economy, Germany, has seen a rise in inequality. The richest 10% in the country currently own assets amounting to 1.4m euros on average, 80 times more than the annual income of the median German household. Earlier this year, the German Economic Institute (DIW) released a study indicating that contrary to common conceptions, Germany had the most unequal distribution of wealth in the eurozone.

Rising inequality in Germany is correlated with a rise in neo-nazi groups that look to spread xenophobia across Germany. The aim of this research is two-fold: first, drawing on OECD data, the paper describes the current level of inequality within Germany, and between Germany and the rest of the EU. And second, the paper offers historic evidence that current levels of intra-German inequality are a function of the economic and social merger of the two Germanies during and after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The authors conclude a rise in inequality in Germany is a direct result of the reunification process.

Modified Abstract

This research explores trends and causes of inequality in Germany. Two forms of inequality include economic inequality and social inequality. Liberal market economies like the United States are assumed to have the high levels of inequality. However, the European Union and its strongest economy, Germany, has seen a rise in inequality. The aim of this research is two-fold: first, drawing on OECD data, the paper describes the current level of inequality within Germany, and between Germany and the rest of the EU. And second, the paper offers evidence that current levels of German inequality are a function of the economic and social merger of the two Germanies during reunification. The authors conclude a rise in inequality in Germany is a result of the reunification process.

Research Category

Political Sciences/Philosophy/History

Primary Author's Major

Political Science

Mentor #1 Information

Dr. Mark Cassell

Presentation Format

Poster

Start Date

March 2016

Research Area

Comparative Politics | Economic Policy | Social Welfare

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Mar 15th, 1:00 PM

Reunification and Rising Inequality in Germany

This research explores current trends and causes of inequality in the Federal Republic of Germany. Two forms of inequality include: 1) economic inequality which describes the income and wealth gap between the poorest and wealthiest individuals in a country; and 2) social inequality which describes the differences in opportunities and rewards based on racial, gender or ethnic categories. Liberal market economies like the United States are assumed to have the highest levels of inequality among advanced industrial countries. However, the European Union and its strongest economy, Germany, has seen a rise in inequality. The richest 10% in the country currently own assets amounting to 1.4m euros on average, 80 times more than the annual income of the median German household. Earlier this year, the German Economic Institute (DIW) released a study indicating that contrary to common conceptions, Germany had the most unequal distribution of wealth in the eurozone.

Rising inequality in Germany is correlated with a rise in neo-nazi groups that look to spread xenophobia across Germany. The aim of this research is two-fold: first, drawing on OECD data, the paper describes the current level of inequality within Germany, and between Germany and the rest of the EU. And second, the paper offers historic evidence that current levels of intra-German inequality are a function of the economic and social merger of the two Germanies during and after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The authors conclude a rise in inequality in Germany is a direct result of the reunification process.