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SOEP-LEE: The Linked Employer-Employee Survey of the Socio-Economic Panel Study

Completed Project

Project Management

Jürgen Schupp (DIW Berlin)
Stefan Liebig (Universität Bielefeld)

Project Period

January 1, 2012 - December 31, 2013

Commissioned by

Leibniz-Gemeinschaft (SAW-Exzellenzprogramm)

In Cooperation With

Universität Bielefeld, Fakultät für Soziologie

There is increasing consensus in the economic and social sciences that the workplace plays a crucial role in individual life outcomes. This is true in the economic and sociological labor market research, network and social capital research, health research, the research on educational and competency acquisition processes, wage information, and the work-life interface, as well as in the inequality research as a whole. For this reason, there has been increasing interest in what are known as "linked employer-employee" (LEE) datasets, in which employees' individual data are linked with information on their employers.

The workplace data collected in the framework of the project SOEP-LEE will substantially expand the information on the work contexts and working conditionsof respondentsto the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) survey. The project has been implemented by asking all dependent employees in all of the SOEP samples to provide local contact information to their employer in 2011. The employer contact data then formed the basis for a standardizedemployer survey conducted seperately from the rest of the SOEP survey. This employer information can be linked with the individual and household data from the SOEP study. The new linked employer-employee dataset opens up new opportunities for wide-ranging forms of secondary analysis with innovative questions from wide range of disciplines in the social and economic sciences. An additional unique feature of SOEP-LEE is the analysis of employer survey data quality, carried out through the measurement of meta- and paradata over the course of data collection. As a result, this project also contributes to the ongoing development and refinement of survey methodology in the field of organizational studies.

The perspective of inequality theory provides the thematic focusfor the employer survey. The central question is how inequalities in access to key resources and life opportunities come into being at the workplace level. The central dimensions of inequality under consideration here are: income; education and opportunities to realize educational investmentsin terms of chances of status gain or loss; reutrns to working life; and opportunities to balance work and family. We assume that the different groups of employees within a given company experience different restrictions and opportunities - in other words, that different employee groups differ in their access to further education or in the opportunities available to them to balance career and family. Furthermore, the data make it possible to analyze the results of the different heterogeneityconditions in companies (e.g., employment forms such as limited-term contracts, use of temporary employment and similar "atypical" employment forms, the gender composition, age structure, and educational structure of the workforce) in creating inequalities.

Cooperation partner at the University of Bielefeld:

Data Service Center for Business and Organizational Data (FDZ-BO)

Former project staff:
Alexia Meyermann (University of Bielefeld)
Michael Weinhardt (DIW Berlin)

DIW Team