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Guests at the IfM Patent registrations in East and West Germany

There is still a difference in the level of innovativeness of companies in East and West Germany. In his presentation "A Legacy of Socialism? Innovation activities in East and West Germany 1877 to 2014" at the IfM Bonn Science Forum, Prof Michael Fritsch (Friedrich Schiller University Jena) showed the development in the past on the basis of patent registrations per 10,000 inhabitants.

Empirical analyses by Prof. Fritsch and his co-authors Dr Maria Greve (Utrecht University/Netherlands) and Associate Prof Michael Wyrwich (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen/Netherlands) show that innovation activities in West Germany have benefited significantly more from reunification than innovation activities in East Germany. According to their study, the gap between East and West Germany in the innovation sector has increased significantly in recent years. The main reasons for this development are the shock transformation of the East German innovation system and the strong overlapping of research priorities, which led to a 'tidying up' at the expense of the East. The east-west migration of young and well-educated workers also contributed to a growing disparity. The extensive government support measures have so far not been able to stop the East and West from drifting apart.