Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Political Science

First Advisor

Daniel J. Hopkins


How can we explain the persisting salience of the East-West divide in Germany more than three decades after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc? The present dissertation seeks to answer this question by exploring various determinants of dissatisfaction in contemporary Eastern Germany. In this work, I make the case that patterns of political disenchantment in the former German socialist states are partially attributable to contextual factors. In each chapter, I test a different contextual effect as a covariate of regional dissatisfaction: inter-group contacts (Chapter 2), framing (Chapter 3) and windfall income (Chapter 4). Results are obtained using descriptive, experimental and quasi-experimental methods on data from the Wahl Navi Electoral Compass, the Facebook Connectedness Index, two online population-based surveys and the German Socio-Economic Panel dataset. Findings suggest that inter-group contacts, framing and windfall income all have a substantive effect on regional resentment in Eastern German states. These results indicate that regional discontent in Germany is not solely fueled by low socioeconomic standings or by a backlash response to immigration, but is rather the consequence of multiple coocurring effects.


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