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Convergence and determinants of non-employment durations in Eastern and Western Germany


Since monetary union between eastern and western Germany in 1990, non-employment spells have been shorter in the east, and there has been no convergence. Analysis of the German Socio-Economic Panel for 1990–2000 indicates that there is some convergence in the determinants of durations, owing to increasing age differentials for eastern men, and an increasing influence of children for eastern women. The latter has contributed to the decline in female employment. Skill affects non-employment duration less than it affects employment duration, and the gender gap in eastern non-employment duration cannot be characterized as a skills gap.

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Correspondence to Jennifer Hunt.

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I am very grateful to Ann Huff Stevens, Rachel Friedberg, Daniel Parent and Chris Sims for helpful discussions. I also thank participants in seminars at Boston College, Bristol, Essex, London School of Economics, University College London, and Warwick for comments on an earlier version. I am indebted to Yunning Xu for research assistance, and the Yale Center for International and Area Studies for financial support. I am also affiliated with the following institutes: NBER, CEPR, IZA, William Davidson, DIW, CIREQ and CIRANO. Responsible editor: Christoph M. Schmidt

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Hunt, J. Convergence and determinants of non-employment durations in Eastern and Western Germany. J Popul Econ 17, 249–266 (2004).

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  • Non-employment
  • transition

JEL classification

  • J64
  • P23
  • P51