The German East-West divide in light of the events in Saxony

After the latest expressions of hostility towards foreigners and refugees in Saxony worries arise about the economic consequences of such radicalism. I run some “big data heuristics” to quickly get a feeling of what is going on. The first thing that we can easily detect, using some trickery I will explain, is that 25 years after the German reunification and after billions of solidarity taxes paid, the East is still far behind the West not just in terms of income but also in terms of tolerance and cultural pluralism.

It is well known that Turks make up the largest migrant group in Germany. We also know how they are spread across Germany. We can “recover” that distribution using Google searches by using a simple trick. The spelling of Turkey by Turks is “Türkiye” so if we plot such searches for 2015 we get:

Fick’s first diffusion law tells us that the flux of diffusion goes from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration:

J = - D \frac{\partial \phi }{\partial t}

While populations do not diffuse independent from each other (like particles do) the basic forces ought to be similar. People ought tot diffuse towards lower density regions once you lift barriers. The diffusivity of the medium (D) in Social Science is made up of such things as social climate, hospitality, being friendly to foreigners or not, reputation, social networks etc. Twenty five years after the lifting of the Iron Curtain Google searches for “Türkiye” still paint the East-West division showing that using the diffusion of the largest migrant group in Germany as proxy for whether or not foreigners are welcome we can detect that the story in the east is different than in the west.

The story is similar if we look at searches for interest in AfD: the east is a breeding ground of right radicalism.

It may very well be that bad economic conditions breed right radicalism but the proliferation of AfD in the east will most likely make things worse. Here is a scatter plot of income level by land and Google search intensity for AfD:


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