Research Data Center of the SOEP

Welcome to the Research Data Center of the SOEP

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We are delighted that you have found out about the SOEP data, and would like to briefly describe our services to you.

The SOEP microdata set is not available on the internet due to German data protection regulations.

The SOEP data are distributed through our "Research Data Center of the SOEP", which complies with the criteria of the German Data Forum (RatSWD) for providing access to microdata within a research data infrastructure.

As a special service, the Research Data Center of the SOEP advises scholars who want to use SOEP as reference data or a control sample for their own studies.

The SOEP participates in the German Data Forum (RatSWD).

Conditions for obtaining the data

  • The SOEP data can only be used for scientific research purposes.
  • Any analysis of the anonymized microdata set has to be carried out by youself. Personally-good knowledge of SPSS, STATA, SAS or comparable programs is necessary.
  • The most important precondition: Users both within and outside the EEA-countries are required to sign a data distribution contract, which you can request with a form. If you are a PhD/doctoral/undergraduate student, the professor advising you would have to sign this contract.
    The content of the contract can be seen in our sample contract/within EU.
    If someone of your institution has already signed a contract with us, and you use the data for a new project, please report the additional use to .

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  • The contract is free.
  • Within the EEA countries (plus Switzerland): The current SOEP dataset with German and English labels, accompanying documentation, and installation instructions are provided on DVD at a price of € 30 (plus € 8 shipping and handling).
  • Outside the EEA countries: German data protection regulations stipulate that only a reduced SOEP dataset can be used. This can be obtained from Cornell University using the form linked in the margin. There you have to pay a $ 125 (USD) for the firsttime use.

    If you have any questions or need further information, please contact the SOEPhotline at either or +49 30 89789-292

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Starting a new project

At the beginning of a project, we urge you to use our information system SOEPinfo. The "item correspondence list" is integrated into the search function there, so you can trace the information you need ("items") over the years. Furthermore, using a file generator, you can write a command syntax for the selected variables in the statistic programs SPSS, SAS and Stata.

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