Research report 2013 - Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Longer life through societal change – German unification, a natural experiment

Vogt, Tobias
Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung, Rostock
For more than 150 years, the Western world has seen steady increases in average life expectancy. Controversy remains over why an increasing number of people is getting older and older. Germany divided and unified offers a unique opportunity to analyze the impact of changing living conditions on the development of mortality. After forty years of different political, social, and economic conditions as well as diverging life expectancy, the Fall of the Berlin Wall heralded the harmonization of living standards and the convergence of mortality levels between the two states formerly divided.

For the full text, see the German version.

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