Consolidating the Evidence on Income Mobility in the Western States of Germany and the U.S. from 1984-2006
NBER Working Paper No. 18618
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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