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SOEPnewsletter April 2021

Dear colleagues,

Many of you will already have noticed: The 2019 survey data are included in the SOEP Core data, version 36 has just started to be delivered. In the Data Service section, we briefly describe what you can expect.
In addition to working on the preparation of the SOEP Core and SOEP IS data, our main focus over the past few months has been preparing for the transition to our new survey institute. We are very confident that we will manage the transition well. But some very exciting projects are also picking up speed. More information on both points can be found under News and Events.
By the way, the release of the 2019 SOEP-IS edition has been announced for May 9.

We wish happy SOEPing!

On behalf of the whole SOEP Team
Uta Rahmann

  • SOEP data 1984-2019 (v36) are now available. All registered data users can order the data using our online order form.
    In English:
    In German:
  • The most important news about v36:
    • In 2019, two interesting new samples were added: the Top Shareholder Sample (Sample P) and the LGBTQ Sample (Sample Q) covering lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender people, and those who identify as non-binary.
    • Due to new developments in the regulations on data protection and privacy, variables containing information on Germany’s federal states (Bundesländer) must not leave the European Union. We have therefore developed a new concept with different Editions of the SOEP data for our various channels of data distribution.
    • SOEP data v36 is the first version in which the dataset BIOIMMIG was generated using longitudinal data. As a result, many of the variables in this dataset have been changed.
    • This data release includes two datasets from the Mentoring of Refugees (MORE) project.

More detailed descriptions of everything that is new in v36 has been published in the "Changes in the dataset" section of our .


  • Change of survey research institute: Starting this year, fieldwork for the SOEP surveys will be conducted by the infas Institute for Applied Social Sciences in Bonn. Infas is one of the largest and most renowned private social research institutes in Germany, with extensive expertise and many years of experience conducting panel studies such as the National Education Panel (NEPS) and the IAB Household Panel (PASS). Infas was awarded the fieldwork contract following a Europe-wide tendering process. Since the beginning of the year, the SOEP has been working together with the team at infas to prepare for the 2021 survey, and fieldwork for the SOEP-Core samples has begun as planned in mid-April.
    All of us at SOEP are looking forward to our work with infas. We are also very grateful to the team at Kantar for their many years of successful work on the SOEP survey.
  • Work on the KonsortSWD Consortium for the Social, Behavioural, Educational and Economic Sciences project has begun. Its aim is to offer support in the area of research data management to researchers who are increasingly working collaboratively on multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary projects. The consortium is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and is part of the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI). Over the next five years, it will work to strengthen, expand, and deepen the research data infrastructure for research on society. The website of the project at the DIW Berlin describes the tasks of the SOEP. SOEP is responsible for coordinating the Data Production work package and, in a sub-project, for the metadata. The SOEP Research Data Center is also involved in the Data Access work package, which aims to improve access to and use of sensitive data.
  • We have decided not to hold the International SOEP User Conference this year due to ongoing uncertainties around the coronavirus. The conference was originally scheduled for 2020 and was rescheduled to 2021 after the outbreak of the pandemic. We look forward to our next regularly scheduled SOEP User Conference in summer of 2022.
  • A joint project between SOEP and TU Berlin started in March: “Employment Risks and Quality of Work in the Digital Transformation: Empirical Analyses on AI (Artificial Intelligence), Platform Work and Digital Workplaces with the SOEP.” In this project, data on digitization will be collected with the SOEP, analyzed from an interdisciplinary perspective, and subjected to methodological validation. For details, see the project page (in German only by now).
  • The Leibniz ScienceCampus SOEP-RegioHub at Bielefeld University (SOEP@UBi) is now underway. The project examines evidence of increasing regional disparities in structural, demographic, and economic domains in Germany and their consequences for social cohesion. The aim is to close gaps in previous research on how these regional disparities are connected and how regional disparities influence and shape people's political attitudes and behaviors. For details, see the website of the SOEP-Regio Hub in Bielefeld.
  • In the fall of 2020, SOEP issued a call for research project proposals relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and using data from the SOEP-CoV study, which is being carried out in partnership with the University of Bielefeld. Of the more than 70 proposals submitted, 30 were selected. The SOEP-CoV project staff will be working on these projects with the colleagues at outside research institutions who submitted the proposals. Projects cover a wide range of topics, including health behavior and health inequalities; labor markets and gainful employment; mental health, life satisfaction, and leisure; migration; family, partnership, children, and social cohesion. For more information, see the project website: (in German).

  • We would like to highlight a recently published open access paper describing the Comparative Panel File (CPF). The CPF is a Stata code that harmonizes most of the national household panel datasets (e.g., SOEP, HILDA, PSID, and some others) contained in the Cross-National Equivalent File for different variables, making them easier to use in international comparative research. Detailed information is also available on the project website:
    Konrad Turek, Matthijs Kalmijn, Thomas Leopold (2021), The Comparative Panel File: Harmonized Household Panel Surveys from Seven Countries, European Sociological Review, jcab006,
  • The recently published 2021 Data Report answers questions such as: How great is the risk of poverty in Germany? How are people doing at building assets and wealth? How do people perceive income equality in Germany and Europe? One quarter of the 52 reports in the 2021 Data Report are based on SOEP data. The report combines data from official statistical sources with social research data and provides a comprehensive picture of the living conditions and attitudes of people in Germany. It can be downloaded from the following websites: Berlin Social Science Center (WZB), Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), and Federal Agency for Civic Education (BpB). For more, see our full press release (in German).

We are pleased to announce that Cornelia Kristen, Professor of Sociology with a focus on social structure analysis at the University of Bamberg, has joined the SOEP as a Senior Research Fellow on issues related to the integration of immigrants and their descendants. In addition, she is an expert on social inequality and educational sociology. Last summer, she contributed extensively to DIW Wochenbericht 34/2020 on the integration of refugees (press release).

Three new researchers have joined the SOEP as part of KonsortSWD. Two of them will be working on "Open, metadata-enriched, non-proprietary data format for data dissemination (TA3.M5)": Xiaoyao Han started working in March 2021. Her research focus is on metadata schema and open data format. Previously, she studied Information Science at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Claudia Saalbach started in April 2021. She studied sociology in Konstanz and Potsdam. Her research focuses on metadata in the survey life cycle as well as in the influence of technical and visual aspects of survey modes on data quality. Neil Murray will be focusing on RDCNet (TA2.M2), providing research expertise to build and expand research data centers. Neil received his M.Sc. in Economics at the Freie Universität Berlin, where he is currently a doctoral student. His research interests focus on the determinants and economic implications of decisions under risk and uncertainty.

Simon Kleineweber joined DIW Berlin in March 2021 as Research Project Coordinator in the SOEP and also in the DIW Forecasting and Economic Policy Department. Prior to working at DIW Berlin, he worked as a scientific coordinator at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and as a research assistant in interdisciplinary labour studies at European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder). Simon holds a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and History from the University of Bielefeld and completed his master's degree in European Studies at Institut d'Études Politiques in Strasbourg.

Magdalena Krieger sucessfully defended her dissertation in Sociology at the Humboldt Universität Berlin. Prof. Dr. Martin Kroh (Universität Bielefeld) and Prof. Dr. Philipp Lersch (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin) supervised the dissertation. Two parts of it have already been published in peer-reviewed journals: (1) Agents of Socialization and Female Migrants’ Employment: The Influence of Mothers and the Country Context. European Sociological Review 36, no. 6, 902-919. ( ) and (2) Tied and Troubled: Revisiting Tied Migration and Subsequent Employment. Journal of Marriage and Family 82, no. 3, 934-952. ( )

Jannes Jacobsen, Maria Metzing, Felicitas Schikora, and Paul Schmelzer have left SOEP this year. Felicitas Schikora successfully defended her PhD on “The Economic Implications of Migration” supervised by Carsten Schröder (first supervisor) and Panu Poutvaara (second supervisor) at Freie Universität Berlin. We extend our heartfelt thanks to all four of them for their contributions to the SOEP and wish them great success in their careers.

Jürgen Schupp and Gert G. Wagner, along with DIW department head C. Katharina Spiess, accepted the invitation to participate in the ad hoc working group Corona—Children, Adolescents, Young Adults” headed by Professor Jutta Mata (Health Psychology, University of Mannheim) and Professor Ralph Hertwig (MPI for Human Development) at the Leopoldina (German National Academy of Sciences). The Leopoldina aims to shed light on the psychological, physical, educational, social, and economic consequences of the corona crisis for children, adolescents and young adults. The focus will be on the short- and medium-term options for shaping contextual conditions to compensate for disadvantages that have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic. A statement will be drafted by mid-June 2021.

Markus M. Grabka appeared before the Bundestag Committee on Labor and Social Affairs on February 22, 2021, to provide expert testimony and answer questions on the topic of mini-jobs. You can find his statement on the motions submitted on the website of the German Bundestag.