VdF: Best Presentation Prize 2000

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Prize committee

  • Thomas DiPrete (Chairperson) (Duke University/USA)
  • Kenneth Couch (University of Connecticut/USA)
  • Roland Habich (Social Science Research Center Berlin/Germany)
  • Elke Holst (Co-Chairperson) (DIW/SOEP/Germany)
  • Dr. Dean R. Lillard, (Co-Chairperson) (Cornell University/USA)
  • Heike Solga (Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin/Germany)

Honored papers (in alphabetical order)

Andrew E. Clark, University of Orléans (France), Ed Diener, University of Illinois, and Yannis Georgellis, Brunel University: "Lags and Leads in Life Satisfaction: A Test of the Baseline Hypothesis".
Prize money: DM 500,--.
Committee comments: This was a very nice paper in its crossing of disciplinary boundaries by bringing social-psychological concepts into life course research in a longitudinal context. The paper made very effective use of the GSOEP data. Clark et al. showed that there were clear changes in life satisfaction following both positive and negative life course events, but showed that these effects are sometimes anticipated by the individual (e.g., divorce) so that the psychological response sometimes occurs before the actual event. The paper thus raises thought-provoking questions of both a substantive and a methodological nature. Again, we thought this paper would stimulate important new research on the questions it raises about the life-course pattern of life satisfaction.

Michaela Kreyenfeld, MPI for Demographic Research: "Timing of First Births in East Germany after Unification".
Prize money: DM 500,--.
Committee comments: This was also a very nice paper on an important contemporary question. It is well known that fertility levels in East Germany have fallen dramatically since reunification. Conventional wisdom attributes this fall to the economic crisis in the former GDR following reunification. Kreyenfeld qualifies this conventional wisdom by showing that despite this overall drop in fertility rates, East German women maintain their old pattern of having children earlier than West German women if they have children at all, and furthermore shows that the "system effect" does not work through the personal unemployment experience of the woman's partner. These findings raise important questions that should stimulate future research in this area.

David N. Margolis, CNRS/University of Paris I, Véronique Simonnet, University of Paris I, and Lars Vilhuber, U.S. Census Bureau/York University Toronto: "Early Career Experiences and Later Career Outcomes: A Comparison of the United States, France and Germany". Prize money: DM 500,--.
Committee comments: We thought that this was a strong paper that demonstrated the intellectual payoff of careful cross-national research for our understanding of labor markets and the early work career in three important countries. The paper showed strength in its attention to uniform measures of key concepts, its use of appropriate econometric techniques, and its sophisticated awareness of institutional differences between the U.S., France, and Germany. We were impressed by the authors' ability to use their knowledge of institutional structure in these countries to construct plausible and indeed convincing interpretations of cross-national differences in coefficient estimates from their econometric specifications.

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