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The Alliance for Jobs: Social Democracy’s Post-Keynesian/Process-Oriented Employment Creation Strategy

Stephen J. Silvia

A Texas wag once remarked, “Oilmen are like cats. You can’t tell from the sound of them whether they’re fighting or making love.” German industrial relations are not much different. In the heat of collective bargaining, the Federal Republic’s “social partners” (that is, trade unions and employers’ associations) frequently exchange vitriolic barbs in public, while simultaneously engaging in pragmatic, professional negotiations behind closed doors.

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Book Review

Stephen J. Silvia

Wolfgang Schroeder, Das Modell Deutschland auf dem Prüfstand. Zur Entwicklung der industriellen Beziehungen in Ostdeutschland (1990-2000) (Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag, 2000)

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The Elusive Quest for Normalcy: The German Economy since Unification

Stephen J. Silvia

This article investigates the progress that the eastern German economy has made since unification in two areas: unemployment and output. It finds that unemployment has remained persistently higher in eastern than in western Germany and output levels have remained extremely uniform across the eastern states. Keynesian and neoclassical economists have proposed differing explanations for the endurance of high unemployment in the East. The latter have the more convincing argument, which blames high initial wages in eastern Germany for producing a labor "trap," but this account is not without flaws. The best explanation for output uniformity is the content and volume of public investment in eastern Germany since unification. Public policy in the years immediately following unification is in large part responsible for both outcomes. Economic modeling indicates that wage subsidies targeted at low-income employment would be the most effective means to break the current high-unemployment equilibrium in eastern Germany, but the political barriers to adopting such a policy are just as formidable as they were a decade ago, when such a policy was briefly considered.

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Why Do German and U.S. Reactions to the Financial Crisis Differ?

Stephen J. Silvia

Among the many striking developments that arose out of the 2008-2009

financial crisis and the subsequent EURO crisis has been the policy divergence

between the United States and Germany. Typically, the two countries

have broadly similar preferences regarding economic policy. To be

sure, this is not the first time that Germany and the U.S. have failed to see

eye to eye on economic matters,1 but the recent gap in perception and

policy does warrant attention because it has been unusually large. Unlike

the famous quarrels between Jimmy Carter and Helmut Schmidt in the

1970s,2 personality does not seem to play a role in this case. What then

does explain the gulf?