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»Living in Germany«

What is the SOEP?

The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) offers microdata for research in the social and economic sciences. The multidiciplinary SOEP is located at the DIW Berlin (German Institute for Economic Research), one of the leading research institutes in Germany.

SOEP is a wide-ranging representative longitudinal study of private households in Germany. The same private households, persons and families have been surveyed annually since 1984. As early as June 1990—even before the Economic, Social and Monetary Union—SOEP expanded to include the states of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), thus seizing the rare opportunity to observe the transformation of an entire society. An immigrant sample was added as well to account for the changes that took place in Germany society in 1994/95. Further new samples were added in 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2006. The survey is constantly being adapted and developed in response to current social developments.

The data include information on many objective living conditions, values, willingness to take risks, and about the dynamic relationships currently being undergone in these areas of life their changes. The data is used not only for basic academic research but also for policy-related social reports directed at a broader audience. SOEP data make it possible to test a wide range of economic and social theories as well as psychological theories. SOEP places great value on integrating users' input for improvements and theory-based extensions to the survey.

SOEP data open up a range of unique analytical possibilities for research through:

  • Longitudinal data: panel design
  • Household context: all adult household members are surveyed
  • Regional comparisons: use of geo-code context indicators are possible
  • Foreigners: the largest regular survey of foreigners in the Federal Republic of Germany, including households whose head is Turkish, Spanish, Italian, Greek or former Yugoslavian
  • Immigrants: the only methodologically high-quality survey of immigrants who entered West Germany after 1984.

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Development of the Sample

SOEP has a high degree of stability over time. In 1984, 5,921 households containing a total of 12,290 individual respondents participated in “SOEP West”, and after 24 waves, 3,337 of these households with 5,963 respondents were still participating in 2007. In the “SOEP East” sample, 2,179 house-holds with 4,453 members were surveyed in 1990, and in 2007, 3,067 of these individuals in 1,654 households provided information on their living situation. Good participation rates were maintained as well for the 1994/95 Immigrant Sample D, which in 2007 included 345 households and 658 respondents. In 1998 Supplementary Sample E was added, extending SOEP by 1,910 people in 1,056 households, of whom 1,145 people in 647 households were surveyed again in 2007. In 2000, Innovation Sample F was added, covering 10,890 individuals in 6,052 households, of whom 6,642 individuals in 3,694 households remained in 2007. By pooling all the SOEP subsamples, Innovation Sample F significantly improved the possibilities for studying small societal groups. In the year 2002, SOEP added an overrepresentation of high-income households, Sample G. Initially covering 1,224 households with 2,671 respondents, it still includes 824 households in the year 2007 with a total of 1,682 individual respondents. Finally, Sample H was started in 2006 comprising 1,506 households and 2,616 individual respondents, in 2007 1,188 household and 2,077 persons could be interviewed again.

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Thematic Areas

SOEP data cover a wide range of subjects including:

  • Personality traits
  • Physical and mental health
  • Occupational and family biographies
  • Childcare and education participation
  • Employment participation and professional mobility
  • Earnings
  • Household composition, living situation
  • Social participation and time allocation
  • Personal satisfaction

as well as subjects covered in topical modules of the survey. These modules cover such topics as:

  • Family and social services
  • Education and training
  • Social security
  • Environmental behavior.

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Respondents

The questioning population of the SOEP are private households and their members who reach the age of 17. Since the year 2000, data on issues related specifically to children and teenagers are collected through the Youth Questionnaire distributed to all 16-17 year old household members. Since 2003, a questionnaire given to mothers of newborns provides information on central indicators that can help to better understand child development. From the year 2005 on, parents of two-to-three year old children receive a special questionnaire. Thus, since birth cohort of 2003 SOEP also represents a real cohort study. In the year 2008, the parents of four-to-five year old children will be surveyed in particular, and from 2010 on, the parents of older children will be surveyed, as well as teenagers themselves before they reach their seventeenth birthday and become regular respondents.


Who can analyse the Data?

The scientific use file of the SOEP with anonymous microdata is made available to scientists at universities and other research institutes for research and teaching purposes free of charge (to cover the costs of shipping and handling, users inside the EU currently pay a 30 € fee and users outside the EU pay a $125 fee). Use of the data is subject to special regulations, because data privacy laws necessitate that all users sign a data transfer contract with DIW Berlin. About 500 research groups in Germany and around the world are currently working with SOEP data.

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SOEP Services

  • SOEP data are disseminated in several formats on one DVD, accompanied by extensive documentation (also available on our service sites), both as raw data and in SAS, STATA and SPSS formats. Geo-Code context data can also be accessed at DIW Berlin. Training workshops for SOEP users are held annually in Germany and abroad.

  • A remote access to sensitive regional data in the SOEP data set.

  • The interactive program SOEPinfo provides information on all SOEP variables as well as data extraction programs.

  • All registered users and interested persons receive a SOEPnewsletter with information on the latest developments in SOEP. You can download the newsletter directly or register to be placed on the newsletter mailing list.

  • For information and discussion we provide two mailinglists, to which you may subscribe yourself.
  • The SOEPlit database allows to search publications based on SOEP data.

  • SOEPmonitor are data series with classification numbers for labor market, education, income and subjective indicators as well as information about housing conditions.

  • In our new discussion papers series SOEPpapers you will find current research results based on SOEP data with various topic tables.
  • The special module PanelWhiz provides users with a collection of STATA/SE add-ons to simplify using SOEP in longitudinal analysis.

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Organization & Financing

The SOEP Household Panel is a Service Unit of the Leibniz Association (WGL) and is located at DIW Berlin. TNS Infratest Sozialforschung (Munich) carries out the fieldwork. Thereof the SOEP group of researchers not only make the data available to the research community in a more userfriendly way, but also conduct their own analyses of the data.

SOEP was founded in 1983 as a project of Special Research Area 3 (Sfb 3), "Microanalytical Basis of Social Politics", at the Universities of Frankfurt/Main and Mannheim. The director of SOEP up to 1988 was Prof. Dr. Hans-Jürgen Krupp, who as President of DIW Berlin and member of the SfB3 gave home to SOEP at DIW Berlin. In 1989 Gert G. Wagner assumed Hans-Jürgen Krupp's office. During this time of leading the SOEP, he teached at several universities, since 2002 he is professor at the Berlin University of Technology (TUB).

From 1990 to 2002, SOEP was funded through the German National Science Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG). As a Service Unit of the Leibniz Association, SOEP now receives continued funding through the Joint Science Conference (GWK, former Bund-Länder Commission for Educational Planning and Research Promotion) by the Federal Government and the State of Berlin.

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Contact

Germany

SOEP
DIW Berlin
D-10108 Berlin

Phone: +(49-30) 89 789-292
Fax: +(49 30) 89 789-109
e-Mail: soepmail@diw.de


Project Director in the USA:

Professor Richard Burkhauser

Please contact:

Dr. Dean R. Lillard,
Project Manager
Department of Policy Analysis
Cornell University
143 MVR Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4401,
Phone: +(1-607) 255-9290
Fax: +(1-607) 255-0799
e-mail: DRL3@cornell.edu

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Cross-National Equivalent Files

The »Cross-National Equivalent Files« (formerly PSID-GSOEP Equivalent file) contain panel data from Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, the United States, and since Switzerland.

For further information on the CNEF see:
The Cross-National Equivalent File (CNEF) and its Member Country Household Panel Studies ( PDF-Document)
In: Schmollers Jahrbuch, Vol. 127, No. 4 (2007), S. 627-654
(Joachim R. Frick, Stephen P. Jenkins, Dean R. Lillard, Oliver Lipps, and Mark Wooden)

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Selected Publications

For research results and publications based on SOEP data please see our SOEPlit database.

Selected Book Publications:

Headey, Bruce and Holst, Elke (eds.): SOEP Wave Report 1-2008. A Quarter Century of Change: Results from the German Socio-Economic Panel (  pdf document, 3.4 MB). Berlin: DIW Berlin, 2008.

Frey, Bruno S.: Happiness: A Revolution in Economics. Cambridge and London: The MIT Press, 2008.

Goodin, Robert E.; Rice, James Mahmud; Parpo, Antti und Eriksson, Lina: Discretionary Time - A New Measure of Freedom. Cambridge et al.: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Markus M. Grabka and Martin Kroh (eds.), Proceedings of the "7th International Conference of German Socio-Economic Panel Study Users (SOEP2006). Schmollers Jahrbuch – Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften 127 (1), 2007.

Zuckerman, Alan S.; Dasovic, Josip and Fitzgerald, Jennifer Partisan Families – The Social Logic of Bounded Partisanship in Germany and Britain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Oesch, Daniel, Redrawing the Class Map – Stratification and Institutions in Britain, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. Basinstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

Mattil, Birgit, Pension Systems – Sustainability and Distributional Effects in Germany and the United Kingdom . Heidelberg: Physica, 2006.

Anger, Silke, Overtime Work in Germany The Investment Character of Unpaid Hours. Aachen: Shaker, 2006.

Felix Büchel, Conchita D'Ambrosio and Joachim R. Frick (eds.),
Proceedings of the "6th International Conference of German Socio-Economic Panel Study Users (SOEP2004). Schmollers Jahrbuch – Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften 125 (1), 2005

Ulrich Kohler and Frauke Kreuter, Data Analysis Using Stata. Texas: Stata Press, 2005.

Schils, Trudie, Early Retirement Patterns in Europe. A comparative Panel Study . Amsterdam: Dutch University Press, 2005.

Bernard M.S. Van Praag and Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Happiness Quantified - A Satisfaction Calculus Approach. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Kenjoh, Eiko, Balancing Work and Family Life in Japan and Four European Countries: Econometric Analyses on Mothers' Employment and Timing of Maternity (Tinbergen Institute Research Series No. 337; PhD thesis). Amsterdam: Thela Thesis / Tinbergen Institute, 2004.

Frances McGinnity, Welfare for the Unemployed in Britain and Germany - Who benefits?. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2004.

Elke Holst, Jennifer Hunt and Jürgen Schupp (eds.), Proceedings of the 5th International Conference of Socio-Economic Panel Users. Schmollers Jahrbuch, 123 (1), Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2003.

Gangl, Markus, Unemployment Dynamics in the United States and West Germany Economic Restructuring, Institutions and Labor Market Processes. Heidelberg: Physica, 2003.

Peter Krause,Gerhard Bäcker, and Walter Hanesch, Combating Poverty in Europe: The German Welfare Regime in Practice (Studies in cash and care). Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003

Peggy Schyns, Income and life satisfaction - A cross-national and longitudinal study. Delft: Eburon, 2003.

Beblo, Miriam, Bargaining over Time Allocation. Economic Modeling and Econometric Investigation of Time Use within Families. Heidelberg, New York: Physica, 2001.

Elke Holst, Dean R. Lillard and Thomas A. DiPrete (eds.), Proceedings of the 2000 Fourth International Conference of German Socio-Economic Panel Study Users (GSOEP 2000). Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung, 70(1), Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2001.

Mary Daly, Gender Division of Welfare. Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Robert E. Goodin, Bruce Headey, Ruud Muffels, and Henk-Jan Dirven, The Real Worlds of Welfare Capitalism. Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Thomas A. Dunn, Joachim R. Frick and James C. Witte (eds.), Proceedings of the 1998 Third International Conference of the German Socio-Economic Panel Study Users. Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung, 68(2), Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1999.

Thomas A. Dunn and Johannes Schwarze (eds.), Proceedings of the 1996 Second International Conference of the German Socio-Economic Panel Study Users. Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung, 66(1), Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1997.

Richard V. Burkhauser, Michaela Kreyenfeld and Gert G. Wagner, The German-Socio-Economic Panel: A Representative Sample of Reunited Germany and its Parts. In: Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung, 66(1), Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1997, pp. 7-16.

Richard V. Burkhauser and Gert G. Wagner (eds.), Proceedings of the 1993 International Conference of German Socio-Economic Panel Study Users. Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung 63 (1/2), Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1994.

Johannes Schwarze, Friedrich Buttler and Gert Wagner (eds.), Labor Market Dynamics in Present Day Germany. Frankfurt/Main, New York: Campus; Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1994.


     


     

»Living in Germany«


 

Contents

 
What is the SOEP?
Development of the Sample
Thematic Areas
Who can analyse the Data?
SOEP Services
Organization & Financing
Contact
Cross-National Equivalent Files
Recent Publications
Selected Book Publications
 

 

What is the SOEP?

  Study (SOEP) offers microdata for research in the social and economic sciences. Like a high-powered space telescope providing data to researchers worldwide, SOEP acts as an observatory of social phenomena. The data is used not only for basic academic research but also for policy-related social reports directed at a broader audience.

SOEP data make it possible to test a wide range of economic and social theories as well as psychological theories. SOEP is a wide-ranging representative longitudinal study of private households in Germany. The same private households, persons and families have been surveyed annually since 1984. As early as June 1990—even before the Economic, Social and Monetary Union—SOEP expanded to include the states of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), thus seizing the rare opportunity to observe the transformation of an entire society. An immigrant sample was added as well to account for the changes that took place in Germany society in 1994/95. Further new samples were added in 1998, 2000, and 2002. The survey is constantly being adapted and developed in response to current social developments.

The data include information on objective living conditions, values, willingness to take risks, changes currently being undergone in various areas of life, and about the relationships and dependencies among these areas and changes. SOEP places great value on integrating users' input for improvements and theory-based extensions to the survey.

SOEP data open up a range of unique analytical possibilities for research through:

  • Longitudinal data: panel design
  • Household context: all adult household members are surveyed
  • Regional comparisons: use of geo-code context indicators are possible
  • Foreigners: the largest regular survey of foreigners in the Federal Republic of Germany, including households whose head is Turkish, Spanish, Italian, Greek or former Yugoslavian
  • Immigrants: the only methodologically high-quality survey of immigrants who entered West Germany after 1984.
       
 

Development of the Sample

  SOEP has a high degree of stability over time, which is mainly the result of diligent work done in maintaining response rates. In 1984, 5,921 households containing a total of 12,290 individual respondents participated in "SOEP West", and after 21 waves, 3,724 of these households with 6,811 respondents were still participating in 2004. In the "SOEP East" sample, 2,179 households with 4,453 members were surveyed in 1990, and in 2004, 3,435 of these individuals in 1,813 households provided information on their living situation.

Good participation rates were maintained as well for the 1994/95 Immigrant Sample D, which in 2004 included 388 of the original 522 households and 760 respondents as compared to the original 1,078 respondents. In 1998 Supplementary Sample E was added, extending SOEP by 1,910 people in 1,056 households, of whom 1,300 people in 732 households were surveyed again in 2004, five years later.

In 2000, Innovation Sample F was added, covering 10,890 individuals in 6,052 households, of whom 7,724 individuals in 4,235 households remained in 2004. By pooling all the SOEP subsamples, Innovation Sample F significantly improved the possibilities for studying small societal groups.

In the year 2002, SOEP added an overrepresentation of high-income households, Sample G. Initially covering 1,224 households with 2,671 respondents, it still includes 904 households in the year 2004 with a total of 1,986 individual respondents.

       
 

Thematic Areas

  SOEP data cover a wide range of subjects including:
  • Personality traits
  • Occupational and family biographies
  • Employment, participation and professional mobility
  • Earnings
  • Health
  • Personal satisfaction
  • Household composition, living situation

as well as subjects covered in topical modules of the survey. These modules cover such topics as:

  • Family and social services
  • Education and training
  • Social security
  • Environmental behavior

Since the year 2000, data on issues related specifically to children and teenagers are collected through the Youth Questionnaire distributed to all 16-17 year old household members. Since 2003, a questionnaire given to mothers of newborns provides information on central indicators that can help to better understand child development. From the year 2005 on, parents of 2-3-year old children receive a special questionnaire. Thus, since birth cohort of 2003 SOEP also represents a real cohort study. In the year 2007, the parents of four-to-five-year-old children will be surveyed in particular, and from 2009 on, the parents of older children will be surveyed, as well as teenagers themselves before they reach their seventeenth birthday and become regular respondents.

       
 

Who can analyse the Data?

  The scientific use file of the SOEP with anonymous microdata is made available to universities and research institutes for research and teaching purposes free of charge (to cover the costs of shipping and handling, users inside the EU currently pay a 30 € fee and users outside the EU pay a $125 fee). Use of the data is subject to special regulations, because data privacy laws necessitate that all users sign a data transfer contract with DIW Berlin. More than 400 research groups in Germany and around the world are currently working with SOEP data. Since 1984 nearly 1500 users analysed the data.
       
 

SOEP Services

  SOEP data are disseminated in several formats on CD-ROM, accompanied by extensive documentation, both as raw data and in SAS, STATA and SPSS formats. Geo-Code context data can also be accessed at DIW Berlin. Training workshops for SOEP users are held annually in Germany and abroad.

All registered users and interested persons receive a SOEP-NEWSLETTER with information on the latest developments in SOEP. You can download the newsletter directly or register to be placed on the newsletter mailing list. You'll also find extensive additional informational materials, including SOEP questionnaires, the interactive program SOEPinfo providing information on all SOEP variables as well as data extraction programs. On our publication-site you can search for previous publications with SOEP data available via internet or listed in the SOEPlit database.

The special module SOEPmenu provides users with a collection of STATA/SE add-ons to simplify using SOEP in longitudinal analysis.

       
 

Organization & Financing

  The SOEP Household Panel is a Service Unit of the Leibniz Association (WGL) and is located at DIW Berlin. Thereof the SOEP group of researchers not only make the data available to the research community, but also conduct their own analyses of the data. TNS Infratest Sozialforschung (Munich) carries out the fieldwork.

SOEP was founded in 1983 as a project of Special Research Area 3 (Sfb 3), "Microanalytical Basis of Social Politics", at the Universities of Frankfurt/Main and Mannheim. The director of SOEP up to 1988 was Prof. Dr. Hans-Jürgen Krupp. Prof. Dr. Gert G. Wagner, Berlin University of Technology (TUB), has been director of the study since 1989 (e-mail: gwagner@diw.de). From 1990 to 2002, SOEP was funded through the German National Science Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG). As a Service Unit of the Leibniz Association, SOEP now receives continued funding through the Bund-Länder Commission for Educational Planning and Research Promotion (BLK) by the Federal Government and the State of Berlin.

       
 

Contact

  Germany

SOEP
DIW Berlin
D-14191 Berlin

Phone: +(49-30) 89 789-292
Fax: +(49 30) 89 789-109
e-Mail: soepmail@diw-berlin.de
Internet: http://www.diw.de/gsoep

Project Director in the USA:

Professor Richard Burkhauser

Please contact:

Dr. Dean R. Lillard,
Project Manager
Department of Policy Analysis
Cornell University
143 MVR Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4401,
Phone: +(1-607) 255-9290
Fax: +(1-607) 255-0799
e-mail: DRL3@cornell.edu

       
 

Cross-National Equivalent Files

  The »Cross-National Equivalent Files« (formerly PSID-GSOEP Equivalent file) contain panel data from Canada, Germany, Great Britain and the United States.

For further information on equivalent files for the PSID and SOEP see: Burkhauser, Richard V.; Butrica, Barbara A.; Daly, Mary C. and Lillard, Dean R.(2001): The Cross-National Equivalent File: A Product of Cross-National Research. In: Becker, Irene; Ott, Notburga und Rolf, Gabriele (eds.): Soziale Sicherung in einer dynamischen Gesellschaft. Festschrift für Richard Hauser zum 65. Geburtstag. Frankfurt/New York: Campus, pp. 354-376 (also available here ( PDF-Document)).

       
 

Recent Publications

 

Please see our site on SOEP Based Publications.

       
 

Selected Book Publications

 

Kohler, Ulrich and Kreuter, Frauke,
Data Analysis Using Stata. Texas: Stata Press, 2005.

Felix Büchel †, Conchita D'Ambrosio, and Joachim R. Frick (eds.),
Proceedings of the "6th International Conference of German Socio-Economic Panel Study Users (SOEP2004). Schmollers Jahrbuch - Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften 125 (1), 2005

Bernard M.S. Van Praag and Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Happiness Quantified - A Satisfaction Calculus Approach. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Kenjoh, Eiko, Balancing Work and Family Life in Japan and Four European Countries: Econometric Analyses on Mothers' Employment and Timing of Maternity (Tinbergen Institute Research Series No. 337; PhD thesis). Amsterdam: Thela Thesis / Tinbergen Institute, 2004.

Frances McGinnity, Welfare for the Unemployed in Britain and Germany - Who benefits? (PhD Thesis). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2004.

Elke Holst, Jennifer Hunt and Jürgen Schupp (eds.), Proceedings of the 5th International Conference of Socio-Economic Panel Users. Schmollers Jahrbuch, 123 (1), Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2003.

Gangl, Markus, Unemployment Dynamics in the United States and West Germany - Economic Restructuring, Institutions and Labor Market Processes. Heidelberg: Physica, 2003.

Peter Krause,Gerhard Bäcker, and Walter Hanesch, Combating Poverty in Europe: The German Welfare Regime in Practice (Studies in cash and care). Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003

Peggy Schyns, Income and life satisfaction - A cross-national and longitudinal study (PhD thesis). Delft: Eburon, 2003.

Beblo, Miriam, Bargaining over Time Allocation. Economic Modeling and Econometric Investigation of Time Use within Families. Heidelberg, New York: Physica, 2001.

Mary Daly, Gender Division of Welfare. Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Robert E. Goodin, Bruce Headey, Ruud Muffels, and Henk-Jan Dirven, The Real Worlds of Welfare Capitalism. Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Elke Holst, Dean R. Lillard and Thomas A. DiPrete (eds.), Proceedings of the 2000 Fourth International Conference of German Socio-Economic Panel Study Users (GSOEP 2000). Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung, 70(1), Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2001.

Thomas A. Dunn, Joachim R. Frick and James C. Witte (eds.), Proceedings of the 1998 Third International Conference of Study Users. Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung, 68(2), Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1999.

Thomas A. Dunn and Johannes Schwarze (eds.), Proceedings of the 1996 Second International Conference of Study Users. Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung, 66(1), Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1997.

Richard V. Burkhauser and Gert G. Wagner (eds.), Proceedings of the 1993 International Conference of German Socio-Economic Panel Study Users. Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung 63 (1/2), Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1994.

Richard V. Burkhauser, Michaela Kreyenfeld and Gert G. Wagner, The German-Socio-Economic Panel: A Representative Sample of Reunited Germany and its Parts. In: Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung, 66(1), Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1997, pp. 7-16.

Johannes Schwarze, Friedrich Buttler and Gert Wagner (eds.), Labor Market Dynamics in Present Day Germany. Frankfurt/Main, New York: Campus; Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1994.