Insufficient data, short time spans, illusions and multiple pressures: designing the German Monetary Union in 1990
Keywords:decision-making processes, GDR economy, German monetary and economic union, German reunification, transition to market economy
AbstractThe German unification in 1990 generated many benefits, but also many disappointments. After the introduction of the monetary union between the GDR and West Germany on 1 July 1990, the East German industry collapsed, and mass unemployment became persistent. Ever since the modalities of the monetary union have been discussed controversially. This paper reconstructs the decision-making processes and negotiations towards monetary union. To a high extent, this reconstruction is based on original documents. Early on in Bonn a consensus was reached that monetary union had to be introduced soon, the rapid decline of the GDR making stepwise approaches impossible. Many officials were aware of the detrimental effects of a 1:1 conversion of the wages. But few dared to go against the widespread demands for 1:1 in the GDR population and government, not the least because of over-optimistic promises before the elections in the GDR in March 1990.
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