Report , News of 8 February 2017

Analyzing special population or occupational groups

The paper “Berufsgruppe ‘Erzieherin’: Zufrieden mit der Arbeit, aber nicht mit der Entlohnung” by C. Katharina Spieß and Franz G. Westermaier published in the DIW-Wochenbericht Nr. 43 | PDF, 227.51 KB (in German) in 2016 has again shown that the SOEP sample size is now so large that it provides the basis for statistically valid findings on even relatively small population groups. We encourage SOEP users to conduct more analyses like these.

The expansion of day care in Germany over the past few years has led to a corresponding growth in the number of childcare workers. How satisfied are these employees with their work? Do they feel overburdened? And how do their feelings differ from those working in comparable professions? The study by Spieß and Westermaier attempts to answer these question using data from the SOEP. The data show that childcare workers are quite satisfied with their work, reporting satisfaction levels as high as those of primary school teachers. When it comes to pay, however, they are more dissatisfied than those in the comparison groups. Although they do not feel burdened by many aspects of their work, the balance between effort and reward is poorer than it is among most of the other professional groups. More investment in early education could be worthwhile, because if childcare workers are more satisfied with their pay and find their jobs less stressful, the quality of education will increase overall. This will ultimately be an investment in current and future human potential.

Spiess and Westermaier cite examples of other articles using SOEP data to study small population groups. Studies on teachers and artists include:

Steiner, Lasse, and Lucian Schneider. 2013. “The happy artist? An empirical application of the work-preference model” Journal of Cultural Economics 37, no. 2, pp. 225-246. (doi: 10.1007/s10824-012-9179-1)

Schult, Johannes, Manuela Münzer-Schrobildgen, and Jörn R. Sparfeldt. 2014. “Belastet, aber hochzufrieden? – Arbeitsbelastung von Lehrkräften im Quer- und Längsschnitt”, Zeitschrift für Gesundheitspsychologie 22, no. 2, pp. 67-67. (doi: 10.1026/0943-8149/a000114)

Dohmen, Thomas, and Armin Falk. 2010. “You get what you pay for: Incentives and selection in the education system” The Economic Journal, vol. 120, no. 546, F256-F271. (doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0297.2010.02376.x)