Inequality Trends for Germany in the Last Two Decades: A Tale of Two Countries

Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln, Dirk Krueger, Mathias Sommer

NBER Working Paper No. 15059
Issued in June 2009
NBER Program(s):   EFG

In this paper we first document inequality trends in wages, hours worked, earnings, consumption, and wealth for Germany from the last twenty years. We generally find that inequality was relatively stable in West Germany until the German unification (which happened politically in 1990 and in our data in 1991), and then trended upwards for wages and market incomes, especially after about 1998. Disposable income and consumption, on the other hand, display only a modest increase in inequality over the same period. These trends occured against the backdrop of lower trend growth of earnings, incomes and consumption in the 1990s relative to the 1980s. In the second part of the paper we further analyze the differences between East and West Germans in terms of the evolution of levels and inequality of wages, income, and consumption.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15059


  • Nicola Fuchs-Schuendeln & Dirk Krueger & Mathias Sommer, 2009. "Code and data files for "Inequality Trends for Germany in the Last Two Decades: A Tale of Two Countries"," Computer Codes 09-195, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  • Nicola Fuchs-Schuendeln & Dirk Krueger & Mathias Sommer, 2010. "Inequality Trends for Germany in the Last Two Decades: A Tale of Two Countries," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 103-132, January. citation courtesy of

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