Germany after the Unification: The Exclusive Society?

Staatswissenschaftliche Fakult├Ąt Discussion Paper No. 2004-001SC

22 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2008 Last revised: 1 Mar 2019

Date Written: September 1, 2004


On the basis of an exhaustive assessment of the Social Inequality III dataset provided by the International Social Survey programme, this study aims to find a response to the following questions: 1) did the inclusion of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) into the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) automatically imply the inclusion of East Germans into the new society? Do East and West Germans benefit of equal possibilities in the new unified state? Which are the perceptions of the two German populations in relation to their possibility of getting ahead and getting rewarded for their efforts in the new state. In other words, is the new Germany perceived as an inclusive or an exclusive society by its citizens? The analysis conducted in this paper shows that East and West Germans often have two opposite visions of the society in which they live. While West Germans still consider theirs a relatively equal society, which attempts to provide fair and equal opportunities to all citizens (possibly regardless of the region of origin), East Germans continue to be more skeptical on this issue. In particular, East Germans tend to believe more strongly than West Germans that differences in income in the new society are too conspicuous, that they do not get rewarded for their efforts as they should and that the government should work harder to reduce social differences. These results clearly show the persistence of the East-West German cleavage.

Keywords: German unification, East vs. West German attitudes, International Social Survey Project; social inclusion/exclusion, political cultures, national identity

JEL Classification: P26, P30, P51, O10, N30, J18, D61, D31

Suggested Citation

Cerami, Alfio, Germany after the Unification: The Exclusive Society? (September 1, 2004). Staatswissenschaftliche Fakult├Ąt Discussion Paper No. 2004-001SC, Available at SSRN:

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