NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Consolidating the Evidence on Income Mobility in the Western States of Germany and the U.S. from 1984-2006

Gulgun Bayaz-Ozturk, Richard V. Burkhauser, Kenneth A. Couch

NBER Working Paper No. 18618
Issued in December 2012
NBER Program(s):   LS

The cross-national intragenerational income mobility literature assumes within-country mobility is invariant over the period measured. We argue that a great social transformation—German reunification— abruptly and permanently altered economic mobility. Using standard measures of mobility (with panel data for the western states of Germany and the U.S.) over the entire period 1984-2006, we find the conventional result that income mobility is greater in Germany. But when we cut the data into moving five-year windows and compare mobility before and after reunification, income mobility declines significantly over the years immediately following reunification in Germany but not in the U.S.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18618

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