Skip to content!

SOEPnewsletter October 2022

Dear Colleagues,

This is the second issue of the SOEPnewsletter in 2022 and autumn is already here, so it’s high time to tell you about what has been happening at the SOEP and to look ahead to the future. 

We’ll start with the painful news: Unfortunately, our previous SOEP Director Stefan Liebig left the SOEP on October 1. The position is vacant for the time being. You can read more about this in the section People and Papers.

But 2022 has also brought various positive developments for the SOEP that will contribute to improving our data, including a major new refresher sample, a new workshop series for our interviewers, and new motivational videos for our respondents.

In our household surveys and research projects, we continue to investigate social distribution and participation in the current political context and ongoing pandemic with a view to different social groups, such as refugee families and retired people. You can read more about the various new data sets that are now available to order in the Data Service section.

In the News and Events section, we describe our new special survey of Ukrainian refugees and a workshop on the integration of refugee families, both of which deal with the social impacts of the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine and other refugee experiences. We also report on our last SOEP User Conference and provide information on upcoming workshops on the use of SOEP data.

In addition to our 2021 Annual Report, this newsletter also introduces some of the many publications that appeared in 2022 focusing on the diverse social groups in our data— e.g. grandparents, millionaires, minimum wage earners, and people with religious affiliations. You can read about these publications under People and Papers.

The Staff and Community News section reports on recent doctoral graduates, awards recipients, and staffing changes at the SOEP.

Please also note that we are currently looking for a new survey manager for the SOEP Innovation Sample (SOEP-IS). All our current job openings can be found here.

Best regards,

Your team in the SOEP division Knowledge Transfer

P.S. We would like to thank Uta Rahmann for her work producing the SOEPnewsletter for several years. She has taken the position of Head of the DIW Berlin Works Council. In her place, we welcome Elisa Grabas, who will be providing you with information about the SOEP in the future.

  • New refresher sample of 6,000 households were added to the main SOEP sample this year: This accomplishes two goals: counteracting panel dropout, and significantly increasing the number of younger respondents and rural households through targeted oversampling.


  • New SOEP-RV VSKT 2020 data: The “sample of the insured population’s pension records” (VSKT) dataset became available in July 2022, expanding the information on pension records from the 2020 survey year and covering around 14,494 SOEP respondents (6.7 million person-months).

    Linkage of SOEP data with administrative data from the German Pension Insurance has been possible since September 2021. The policy holder pension portfolio (RTBN) dataset is available in a cross-sectional format for the survey years 2018 and 2020. In addition to socio-demographic information, the dataset contains information on aspects of pension entitlements such as the pension amounts, components of pension payments, pension types, as well as points accrued in the pension point system.

    A detailed description can be found on the project page SOEP-RV.

    The data can be ordered as a scientific use file at


  • 1984-2020 SOEP-Core data (v37) now available: All registered data users can order the current version of the data by completing our online order form, either in German or in English.

    The most important news about v37:

    In 2020, three new samples were added as part of the IAB-SOEP Migration Sample and the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Refugee Survey: a current refugee sample (Sample M6), a migration sample of migrants from Poland, Romania and Bulgaria (Sample M7), and a sample of immigrants from third countries who have received a work permit as “skilled workers” (M8).

    The data from the special SOEP-CoV survey have been integrated into the v37 data. SOEP respondents were invited in 2020 and 2021 to provide additional information on their everyday lives during the pandemic and the government’s handling of the crisis. Data from the RKI-SOEP study are available on request. In autumn 2020, SOEP respondents took COVID-19 as well as antibody tests, which were sent to the RKI laboratory for processing, and they completed a short questionnaire on topics including their personal experience with the disease. All other changes can be found in the “Changes in the Dataset” section of the current SOEP-Core page.

  • Updated Stata practice dataset for teaching: As of March 15, 2022, the updated practice dataset can be used without signing a data distribution agreement and can be downloaded from our website. The data are available under the CC-BY-SA license. The practice dataset consists of 15 variables based on the original SOEP-Core version 36 variables and covering four survey years (2015-2019). In addition to the more recent version of the data, the practice dataset has been restructured and supplemented in the range of variables available to better simulate income and labor market analyses. Another new feature is the release of the do file used to create the dataset, which can be downloaded along with the data.

    The practice dataset is available in German and English. For more information, see SOEP in the College Classroom.

  • New joint research project launched—the IAB-BiB/FReDA-BAMF-SOEP survey of 6,000 refugees from Ukraine: More than 950,000 refugees from Ukraine have sought protection in Germany since the start of the Russian war of aggression on February 24, 2022. With the recently launched research project “Refugees from Ukraine in Germany”, SOEP, together with the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB) with its project Family Research and Demographic Analysis FReDA, and the Research Centre of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF-FZ), is establishing the first comprehensive, representative social science repeat survey (two waves: August 2022 and January 2023) on this group. In this respect, the study fills a research gap: It will create the first representative database on this group of people on the conditions that led them to flee, and on their integration into German society. The findings drawn from these data will lay the foundation for groundbreaking policy research and political decision-making.

  • Workshop on the integration of refugee families in host countries: On November 28, SOEP will be holding a one-day workshop to bring together researchers working on different aspects of refugee integration and to explore the latest research developments in this field. It aims to discuss empirical research, data collection, and political challenges arising from the new waves of refugees that will arrive in Europe in the near future. The workshop will focus on research papers based on the IAB-BAMF-SOEP survey data. The workshop is funded by the project “Representative Sample of Refugee Families in Germany” (GeFam2).

    More information can be found here.

  • 2022 SOEP Conference: The 14th International SOEP User Conference took place in Berlin from June 30 to July 1, 2022. Almost 100 researchers took part in the conference. We are grateful to all the conference participants. Further information and impressions of the SOEP conference can be found here.

  • 2021 SOEP User Survey: The most recent SOEP User Survey was conducted from November 2021 to January 2022. Some of the results are:
    • Seventy-five percent of survey respondents have never used the special net datasets on specific population groups. Users cited reasons such as a lack of research interest, not knowing about the survey data, and not finding the data to be useful for their research questions.
    • Half of survey respondents primarily use the last 10 survey years, but at least one fifth use all 36 waves.
    • The most frequently used special samples of the SOEP are the migration samples M1/2 and the refugee samples M3-5. The least frequently used special samples are the Social City and LGB* samples.

  • 2022 SOEP User Survey: In November 2022, we will again invite our data users to participate in the upcoming 2022 SOEP User Survey. We look forward to your feedback.

  • SOEPcampus: The last workshop at DIW Berlin in April and the online workshop SOEPcampus@Home in August were very successful. Due to continued high demand, a new SOEPcampus event (series) will be held in the fall: “Learn to Use the SOEP over Lunch” is a short online introductory course to SOEP in three separate sessions, each at lunchtime (12:15-1:45 p.m.).

    Part 1: Wednesday, October 26: General introduction to the SOEP
    Part 2: Wednesday, November 2: Documentation and online support
    Part 3: Wednesday, December 14: Strategies for sampling and weighting

  • SOEP stand at conferences: For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the SOEP has been to various conferences with its information stand: the DAGStat conference in Hamburg, the VfS annual conference in Basel, the Statistical Week in Münster, and the Congress of the German Sociological Association in Bielefeld. Our conference activities will continue next year. You can find us at ESRA in Milan in summer 2023. If you’re at the conference, please stop by our booth to say hello, exchange ideas, and get the latest news from the SOEP!

  • “You can be part of it too!”—A new series of motivational videos for SOEP respondents: How does the survey Living in Germany benefit our society? Who participates? And you’re selected, why should you take part? These are some of the questions answered in a new motivational film produced by kognito Gestaltung for the SOEP survey. The film is aimed at new SOEP respondents.

    In addition, Deborah Anne Bowen and Monika Wimmer have launched a series of short video clips for SOEP respondents that provide a glimpse behind the scenes at SOEP and infas. The videos feature SOEP and infas staff members, including Jan Goebel on data protection, Theresa Entringer on the psychological impacts of the pandemic, and Ulrike Drewes, an interviewer for the survey. The series will continue with other members of the SOEP and infas teams.

    With these videos, the SOEP aims to increase respondents’ confidence in and loyalty to the study. The videos (in German) can be seen on the website for Living in Germany respondents.

  • “Deutschland Exklusiv”—a new webinar series for SOEP interviewers: What makes the SOEP study, or “Living in Germany” as it is known to respondents, so special? How do interview questions become research results? And what have researchers found out about life in Germany thanks to this study? Florian Griese, Elisabeth Liebau, Stefan Liebig, and Sabine Zinn designed a new webinar series to ensure that interviewers are well informed about the SOEP when they conduct the interviews. In the series entitled “Deutschland Exklusiv”, SOEP researchers introduce themselves and present their latest findings. The first webinar event in early September featured Katja Schmidt, a sociologist at SOEP, speaking on the topic of “Science for Society”. Further webinars are planned for 2023 on topics such as income and the RKI-SOEP study.

Position of SOEP Director vacant: Stefan Liebig, SOEP Director, left DIW Berlin on September 30, 2022. As of October 1, he has returned to a full-time position as a university professor and holds the chair of Social Structural Analysis and Survey Methodology in the Institute of Sociology at Freie Universität Berlin.

The entire SOEP team deeply regrets Stefan Liebig’s departure. Deputy Director Jan Goebel comments: “In recent years, Stefan has brought a whole series of outstanding projects to the SOEP and launched important new initiatives. One of the projects he started is the Leibniz Science Campus SOEP RegioHub.”

Division heads Jan Goebel, Markus M. Grabka, Carsten Schröder and Sabine Zinn will of course be working together to ensure that all the SOEP’s data offerings and research projects will continue with the same high level of quality.

The position of Vice Director will be held up to November 30 of this year by Jan Goebel, who is Division Head of the SOEP’s Data Operation and Research Data Center. Sabine Zinn, Division Head for Survey Methodology and Management, will take over as Vice Director on December 1, 2022. The SOEP directorate is working closely with the funding agencies to determine how the process of appointing a new SOEP director will be structured. 



  • 2021 SOEP Annual Report online: What SOEP projects were launched in 2021? What have researchers found out with the data? What new datasets are available to our users? And what has changed since we started working with infas? Read more about all of this in the 2021 SOEP Annual Report, which is now online. To receive a print copy, contact us at:

  • Publication released with RKI-SOEP II study results: The SOEP conducted the special survey “Corona Monitoring Nationwide—Wave 2” from November 2021 to February 2022 in partnership with the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), and the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). The aim of the survey was to gather information on the distribution of antibodies against the Sars-Cov-2 virus and assess the willingness of the population to be vaccinated. Initial results were published as an RKI fact sheet (in German). One of the core findings is that the percentage of individuals in the adult population with detectable IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 (seroprevalence) was approximately 92 percent at the end of 2021 / start of 2022.


  • Multiple imputation of ordinal missing not at random data: Angelina Hammon has developed a method for multiple imputation of ordinal missing not at random data for variables with or without a multi-level structure. The imputation method, based on a selection model, can be applied within the framework of the fully conditional specification (FCS) algorithm for multiple imputation of incomplete ordinal variables. The method is designed so that it can be implemented in the R package mice, making it accessible and easy to use. Published in AStA - Advances in Statistical Analysis, a journal of the German Statistical Society.

    Hammon, A. (2022): Multiple imputation of ordinal missing not at random data, AStA Advances in Statistical Analysis (online first, open access).


  • How personality changes over time: Religious people become more agreeable over time than non-religious people. They also become more conscientious and conservative—provided they are surrounded by other religious people. With this study, SOEP psychologist Theresa Entringer and her coauthors succeeded in proving for the first time that personality changes depend not only on life events and individual behavior but also on environment. The study was published in the renowned Journal of Personality.

    Entringer, T. / Gebauer, J. / Kroeger, H. (2022): Big Five Personality and Religiosity: Bidirectional Cross-Lagged Effects and their Moderation by Culture. Journal of Personality (online first, open access).


  • The effects of the minimum wage: How does the minimum wage affect hourly wages, working hours, and monthly wages? Economist Alexandra Fedorets and co-authors Marco Caliendo, Malte Preuss, Carsten Schröder, and Linda Wittbrodt investigated this question with the help of SOEP data. They found that the minimum wage has had a positive effect on hourly wages but a less noticeable effect on monthly wages. This is due to the reduction of working hours, which is relatively undesirable in this wage segment. The study was published in September in the journal Empirical Economics.

    Caliendo, M. / Fedorets, A. / Preuss, M. et al. (2022): The short- and medium-term distributional effects of the German minimum wage reform. Empirical Economics (online first, open access). 


  • What makes millionaires tick: Millionaires are more willing to take risks, more emotionally stable, more open, more extroverted and more conscientious than the general population, according to researchers at the SOEP and the University of Münster (WWU). In the study, SOEP economist Johannes König and co-authors Marius Leckelt, David Richter, Mitja Back, and Carsten Schröder describe the personality of millionaires for the first time based on reliable data. This was made possible by the addition of a random sample of more than 2,000 high-net-worth individuals to the SOEP. The study was published in April 2022 in the journal Humanities & Social Sciences Communications.

    Leckelt, M. / König, J. / Richter, D. et al. (2022): The personality traits of self-made and inherited millionaires. Humanities & Social Sciences Communications 9, 94 (open access).


  • How becoming a grandparent affects personality and life satisfaction: Using data from the Netherlands and the USA, Michael Krämer and co-authors found that becoming a grandparent is not associated with changes in personality traits or life satisfaction. The researchers looked at data on individuals up to six years before and after the birth of their first grandchild and compared them with similar individuals who had not had grandchildren. Their results disprove theories postulating that becoming a grandparent leads to changes in Big Five personality traits. The second paper in Krämer’s dissertation was recently accepted by the European Journal of Personality.

    Krämer, M. D. / van Scheppingen, M. A. / Chopik, W. J. et al. (2022): The transition to grandparenthood: No consistent evidence for change in the Big Five personality traits and life satisfaction. European Journal of Personality (online first, open access).


  • SOEP well represented at the DGPs Congress Symposium on Personality Development: The 52nd Congress of the German Psychological Society (DGPs), the largest psychological conference in the German-speaking world, took place from September 10-15, 2022. Three of the four talks at the symposium “Malleable as Playdough? New Insights on Socio-Economic and Psychological Impact Factors for Personality Change” were based on SOEP data:
    • “On the Longitudinal Effects Between Religiosity and Personality and the Moderating Role of Culture” with Theresa M. Entringer, Jochen Gebauer and Hannes Kroeger
    • “The Personality Traits of Self-Made Millionaires and Millionaires by Inheritance” with David Richter, Marius Leckelt, Johannes König, Mitja Back and Carsten Schröder
    • “A Longitudinal Study on the Link Between Life Goals and Personality” with Laura Buchinger, Theresa M. Entringer, David Richter, Caroline Wehner, Denis Gerstorf and Wiebke Bleidorn

  • International Association for Research on Income and Wealth (IARIW) Conference – Best Poster Award: Viola Hilbert, PhD student at SOEP, received the award for the best poster presentation at this year’s international IARIW conference, one of the most important conferences for distributional analysis. Her poster was on “Inequality of Opportunity in Wealth—Measurement from Germany”. Congratulations to Viola Hilbert and co-authors Daniel Graeber and Johannes König!


  • Appointment to the Scientific Advisory Board of the Austrian Socio-Economic Panel (ASEP): Gert G. Wagner was appointed to the Scientific Advisory Board of the ASEP at Statistics Austria by the Austrian Minister of Science, Martin Polaschek.


  • We are pleased to announce two successful doctoral dissertations:
    • Zbignev Gricevic (former SOEP staff member) successfully defended his dissertation on “Individual and Contextual Correlates of Charitable Giving to Refugees in Germany” on February 17. He received his doctoral degree from the Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences at the Institute of Social Sciences (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. His first examiner was Jürgen Schupp, second examiner Ruud Koopmans.
    • Katja Schmidt, SOEP staff member and doctoral student at the Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences (BGSS), successfully defended her dissertation entitled “Large-Scale Attitude Changes Toward Immigrants and Refugees: The Role of Cohort Affiliation and Threat Perceptions” at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin on September 8, 2022. Her first examiner was Jürgen Schupp, second examiner Steffen Mau.

      Congratulations from the SOEP and all the best for the future!


  • David Richter left the SOEP team on August 1 after just over 11 years to take on a new position as director of the SHARE Berlin Institute. SHARE, the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, is a research infrastructure for studying the impact of health, social, economic, and environmental policies across the life course of European citizens and beyond. We are grateful to David for his exceptional contributions to the SOEP and wish him continued success in his work at SHARE.


  • And other members of the SOEP team left this year: Anja Bahr, Jule Adriaans, Hannes Kröger, Sascha Geschke, and Luise Burkhardt. We are grateful to them for their outstanding work and wish them further success in the future!


  • In the past six months, the SOEP team has welcomed new staff members:
    • Alexander Jung joined the SOEP as a Specialist in Market and Social Research at the SOEP on March 1, 2022.
    • Philippa Cummings joined the SOEP as a Specialist in Market and Social Research on March 7, 2022.
    • Anna-Tabea Müller joined the SOEP as a Specialist in Market and Social Research on April 1, 2022, working in the area of survey methodology and data science.
    • Kenny Pedrique joined the Research Data Center as a research associate for data operations on March 7, 2022. He is currently working on the KonsortSWD research project.
    • Felix Süttmann joined the Survey Methodology and Data Science team as a data scientist on May 1, 2022, where he is supporting the weighting and sampling team.
    • Tamara Böhm joined the SOEP as a doctoral student on May 1, 2022. She is working on the SOEP-LEE 2 research project.
    • Elisa Grabas has been working in the Division of Knowledge Transfer at the SOEP since July 1. She is responsible for information management and documentation of publications based on SOEP data, which includes maintaining the SOEP website and creating the SOEP Newsletter.
    • Emilija Meier-Faust joined the SOEP on July 1 as the new project manager for the BRISE project (Bremen Initiative to Foster Early Childhood Development). She completed an undergraduate degree in psychology at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and her doctorate in psychology at the Freie Universität Berlin.
    • Mattis Beckmannshagen started as a post-doc at SOEP on October 1, 2022. He successfully defended his dissertation entitled “The Labor Market, Inequality, and Health: Four Empirical Essays” at Freie Universität Berlin on August 18, 2022. His first examiner was Carsten Schröder, second examiner Peter Haan.
    • Yogam Tchokni and Martina Kaplanová, two new doctoral students from the Graduate Center of DIW Berlin joined SOEP on October 1.

  • Advanced Techniques for Longitudinal Data Analysis in Social Science: This international conference on techniques and applications for longitudinal data analysis will be held in Bielefeld (Germany) from March 15 to 17, 2023. The aim is to bring together methodologists working to develop methods for evaluating and addressing specific challenges of longitudinal data. In addition, application-related contributions are very welcome. For more information, see the conference website.


  • Call for Abstracts: Eighth European User Conference for EU Microdata, March 16-17, 2023, in Mannheim, Germany: European microdata released by Eurostat (SILC, LFS, AES, SES, CIS, CSIS, EHIS, HBS and TUS) are an important basis for comparative social research. For many years, researchers have presented results of their work at the bi-annual conferences organized by GESIS. This call invites you to submit an abstract to the 8th User Conference. Topics to be addressed include poverty and social exclusion, income inequality, low wage earners, gender earnings gap, migration and labour mobility, the effect of Corona on employment and unemployment, quality of work, innovativeness of enterprises, adult education, skills and qualification, and social aspects of health. Presentations focusing on methodological topics are also highly welcome. They may include e.g. questions of data quality, cross-national and inter-temporal comparability as well as the comparability of different EU surveys. Researchers of all disciplines (e.g. economics, sociology, demography, geography, political science and public health) who use European microdata are encouraged to submit an abstract. All social research to be presented must be comparative and be based on data from at least two countries.

    Conference Fee is 120 Euros. The deadline for submissions of abstracts is October 21, 2022. Proposals should be submitted online via the presentation submission form at the conference webpage.