We investigate how initial conditions that existed in East Germany at the end of the socialist regime impact regional development during the turbulent shock transition to a market economic system. Our investigation spans a period of almost 30 years. Both the self-employment rate (an indication of the existence of a pre-socialist entrepreneurial tradition) and the share of the workforce with a tertiary degree have a strong positive effect on regional development. We conclude that knowledge and a tradition of entrepreneurship have long-run positive effects on development in regions that face disruptive shocks. Entrepreneurship and knowledge play a less important role for development across West German regions, where no significant shocks occurred.
Entrepreneurship knowledge economic development history transformation East Germany