More than just the adoption of Western capitalism? Time use changes in East Germany following Reunification

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Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, this paper examines changes in East German time use following the German Reunification of 1990, which led to large and unexpected economic and institutional changes, including the switch from a socialist to a capitalist system. By estimating Differences-in-Differences models, the study finds that East Germans reduced the time they spend on market work (96 minutes per weekday) and nonmarket work (51 minutes), while increasing the time allocated toward leisure and job search activities. The observed declines in market work time were largest for low-educated East Germans, those who were in the lowest income group, as well as for individuals between the ages 46 and 64. When comparing trends in time use for East and West Germany between 1990 and 2000, I provide evidence for a convergence in East German time use to its West German counterpart following the adoption of Western Capitalism and several other institutional and economic changes in East Germany. One possible explanation for this might be the adoption of West German time preferences following the reunion of the two regions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Labor Research
Early online date26 Apr 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Apr 2018



  • German Reunification
  • time use
  • transition

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