Revision with unchanged content. Income Redistribution income is a main characteristic of the modern welfare state. With the latest reforms in the social security system, the German government passed legislation implying less redistribution towards citizens with low incomes. In light of the heated public debate, the author asks whether Hartz IV-like reforms really mirror the general perception of government responsibilities. Analyzing pooled survey data, she investigates determinants of West Germans preferences for income redistribution and detects a pronounced downward trend over time. Since the trend strongly differs from that of other democratic countries and since strong fluctuations in the early 1990s are observed, the author investigates whether the German Reunification might account for country-specific differences. By means of a politico-economic approach, hypotheses are developed and preferences are linked to the personal income situation, economic growth or social attitudes. While the micro-econometric analysis identifies a Reunification effect, general findings are of relevance to all parties interested in learning more about the Germans perception of the welfare state – including policy makers.