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SOEPnewsletter December 2023

Dear SOEP Community,


The SOEP has much to celebrate this holiday season: We are happy to announce the release of our latest SOEP data (v38.1, which includes survey year 2021) and the release of the first scientific use file of the Social Cohesion Panel (SCP) (see "Data Service").

Another good news, Philipp Lersch has just been awarded one of the highly competitive ERC Consolidator Grants worth around two million euros for a five-year project (see "News and Events").

There are more noteworthy highlights from the last few months (see "People and Papers").  

This SOEPnewsletter also contains announcements of upcoming SOEPcampus@DIW workshops and other SOEP events, including the 15th International SOEP User Conference, July 4–5, 2024, under "News and Events".

The current issue also presents new publications based on SOEP data (see "Publications"), news on the SOEP team (see "Staff News"), and outstanding successes of the SOEP community in the use of SOEP data (see "News about Data Users").

We hope you enjoy this issue. We wish you a relaxing, peaceful holiday season and a happy and healthy new year!


Best regards,

Your SOEP Knowledge Transfer Team

SOEP-CORE data release (v38.1, data 1984 - 2021)

We are pleased to announce the latest SOEP data release including the 2021 survey data. In 2021, after the SOEP changed to a new survey institute for the first time in its history, the survey data were collected by infas.

All registered data users can now order the latest data by using our online order form:

This version is now also available at SOEPremote.

Key details on v38.1:

  • The latest data release includes additional data sets such as BLPEQUIV and the 2021 data in the PEQUIV long-format file.
  • The first wave of employer-employee data from the SOEP-LEE2 project is now available from the SOEP Research Data Center; the EU edition of SOEP-CORE also contains most of the surveyed variables.
  • Data from interviews that were not conducted correctly were removed from the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees in Germany survey data. A total of 87 household interviews and 160 individual interviews were removed. The weighting was adjusted accordingly. Official documentation will be available soon.
  • Issues such as the high number of missing variables for current profession in PGEN have now been fixed. Further fixes are documented in our issue tracker.
  • The new variable reclin_iab_match contains information on whether a respondent has been successfully linked with the administrative data from the Institute for Employment Research and whether this is part of the SOEP-CMI-ADIAB data.

All other changes can be found in the “WhatsNew” document included in the data package or in the Dataset Information section of the current SOEP-CORE page.

Work on the v39 data is currently in full swing. Our aim is to provide you with the next version of the SOEP data as quickly as possible.


Data from the Social Cohesion Panel now available


The first scientific use file of the Social Cohesion Panel (SCP) data has been released: The annual longitudinal survey, established in 2021 with funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and conducted in partnership between the SOEP and the Research Institute for Social Cohesion (RISC), collects data on various aspects of social cohesion in Germany. The dataset includes initial survey data and generated indicators from 13,055 household anchor persons drawn from population registers and interviewed. Future datasets will contain more comprehensive information, including household data and survey data on all adult household members.

Further information and documentation on the dataset can be found on the Research Institute for Social Cohesion webpage. Information on the first research report of the ZHP-FGZ can be found under “Publications”.

Philipp Lersch receives prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant

In late November 2023, Philipp Lersch was awarded one of the European Commission’s largest research grants, the European Research Council (ERC) Grant. His innovative research project “WEALTHTRAJECT: Understanding Trajectories of Wealth Accumulation and Their Variability” will receive almost two million euros in funding over five years starting in 2024. In this groundbreaking project using longitudinal and register data, Lersch will investigate fluctuations in the wealth trajectories of different social groups across the entire life course. His work will make a valuable contribution to wealth research and further intensify this research focus of the SOEP.


Call for Papers: 2024 SOEP User Conference

The 15th International SOEP User Conference (SOEP2024) will take place from July 4 to 5, 2024, at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Berlin. Researchers from all disciplines working with SOEP data (including CNEF, SOEP-IS, SOEP-EU-SILC Clone, and LIS/LWS data) are invited to submit an abstract.

The theme of the conference is “Individual and collective responses to a changing world”. Simon Jäger (IZA/MIT) and Jutta Mata (University of Mannheim) have been invited to give keynote speeches. Deadline for submitting an abstract (up to 300 words) by e-mail is February 5, 2024.

Further information and the Call for Papers as a downloadable PDF file can be found on our regularly updated conference page.


SOEPcampus@DIW Berlin

Another in-person SOEPcampus workshop with Sandra Bohmann will take place at DIW Berlin on February 8 and 9, 2024. The workshop will be held in German. Over the two consecutive days, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., presentations on data structure, sampling design, and weighting strategy will be accompanied by hands-on sessions to provide a practical approach to the SOEP data as well as an understanding of their potential.

Registration opened December 1, 2023, on our event page. The number of participants is limited; confirmations will be sent out in January 2024.


SOEP-RegioHub Spring Conference: “The Power of Where: Spatial Insights from Survey Data”

© DIW Berlin

From February 29 to March 1, 2024, the two-day spring conference “The Power of Where: Spatial Insights from Survey Data” will be held at the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus. Organizers are the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR), the Brandenburg University of Technology (BTU), and the SOEP-RegioHub at Bielefeld University. The conference will take place as a lunch-to-lunch event.

The conference will feature presentations by doctoral students and young researchers combining spatial and survey data for research in geography, sociology, economics, planning, and political science. Contributions range from empirical and theoretical analyses to methodological discussions (e.g., challenges in data linkage or mapping techniques). Further information can be found here.

DIW press conference on the situation of Ukrainian refugees in Germany

SOEP hosted a virtual press conference on July 12, 2023, to present the second wave of the IAB-BiB/FReDA/BAMF-SOEP Survey of Ukrainian Refugees in Germany. The conference was met with great interest: A total of 87 journalists and researchers attended. Representatives of the four research institutions involved in the online study (Yuliya Kosyakova of IAB, Andreas Ette of BiB, Markus M. Grabka of SOEP, Nina Rother of BAMF-FZ) presented key findings. Discussion focused on labor market integration and other aspects of refugees’ social participation (including the high level of language course attendance and progress in language acquisition).


Virtual DIW press conference on the situation of Ukrainian refugees.

DIW Weekly Report 28/2023 (PDF, 2.12 MB) was published to coincide with the event. In the publication, the authors conclude that refugees’ social participation had increased since summer 2022, but that refugees still needed more certainty in their planning. Forty-four percent of refugees stated that they wanted to remain in Germany for the long term.

© DIW Berlin

Infographic for the DIW Weekly Report 28/2023. Audio interview (in German) with Markus M. Grabka (DIW Berlin)


Expert discussion on the German and French minimum wage

On September 12, 2023, Mattis Beckmannshagen and Johannes Seebauer welcomed a French delegation to DIW Berlin for a discussion on the French and German minimum wage. Various experts on the French minimum wage were present, including the President of the French Minimum Wage Commission, Gilbert Cette, as well as representatives of the OECD and the French Embassy. Topics included the distribution and employment effects of the minimum wage, empirical analysis and evaluation of these effects, and the challenges of implementing the minimum wage in Germany and France.


Carina Cornesse speaks at second “Survey Practice Forum” of UK Survey Futures

In her role as international cooperation partner in the infrastructure program UK Survey Futures, Carina Cornesse spoke at the Second Survey Practice Forum on October 9, 2023, about similarities and differences in the challenges facing surveys in Germany and the UK. Together with Mick Couper (University of Michigan), Caroline Roberts (FORS), Patrick Sturgis (London School of Economics), and Laura Wilson (UK Office for National Statistics), she also took part in a panel discussion moderated by Gerry Nicholaas (NatCen) on the topic of “strategic orientation of project plans”.


Markus M. Grabka presents findings at DGB Saxony Poverty Conference in Dresden

On October 13, 2023, Markus M. Grabka took part in the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) Saxony Poverty Conference in Dresden. At the event with the theme of “increasing collectively agreed wages—less poverty?”, he presented findings on the level of poverty among the working population in Saxony. He also took part in a panel discussion on how to achieve poverty-proof wages for all. Speakers at the conference included representatives of trade unions, professional associations, as well as Martin Dulig, Saxony’s Minister of State for Economic Affairs, Labor, and Transport.


Thirteenth New Paradigm Workshop: “More wealth for all—but how?”

At the 13th New Paradigm Workshop of the Forum New Economy in Berlin on November 10, 2023, Charlotte Bartels presented a wealth simulator for Germany that she developed with Timm Bönke and Marie Rullière as part of a project funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The interactive tool estimates how individual policy measures will affect the distribution of wealth in Germany over a period of ten years. It makes it possible to calculate, for instance, how wealth or inheritance taxes will affect the actual distribution of wealth in Germany in the coming years, or what would change if a basic inheritance for twenty-year-olds were distributed instead.

Podium guests at the workshop included Martin Biewen from the University of Tübingen, Martin Beznoska from the German Economic Institute (IW), the world's leading inequality researcher, Branko Milanovic, and the Chief Economist at the Federal Ministry of Economics, Elga Bartsch.

Charlotte Bartels at the 13. New Paradigm Workshop.
© Gordon Welters / Forum New Economy

© Forum New Economy

Wealth simulator based on SOEP data.


Social Cohesion Panel provides data for first report on social cohesion in Germany

On November 8, 2023, the first report (in German) of the Research Institute for Social Cohesion (FGZ) was presented in a press conference the Haus der Bundespressekonferenz (Federal Press Conference), followed by a parliamentary evening in Berlin. Recent research findings show that people in Germany tend to belong to homogeneous social networks (“bubbles”) that are distinct and isolated from other networks. Based on these findings, discussion took place on how to counteract social isolation or “decoupling”, that is, the formation of such bubbles.

The long-term study is based on data from the Cohesion Panel (ZHP-FGZ), which is headed by Carina Cornesse at the SOEP.

Teichler, N. / Gerlitz, J-Y. / Cornesse, C. / Dilger, C. / Groh-Samberg, O. / Lengfeld, H. / Nissen, E. / Reinecke, J. / Skolarski; S. / Traunmüller, R. / Verneuer-Emre, L. (2023). Entkoppelte Lebenswelten? Soziale Beziehungen und gesellschaftlicher Zusammenhalt in Deutschland. Erster Zusammenhaltsbericht des FGZ. DOI: 10.26092/elib/2517. Interview (in German) with former SOEP staff member Olaf Groh-Samberg (Deutschlandfunk audio)


Research potential of the SOEP-IS study for empirical and behavioral economics

In this article published in the Journal of the Economic Science Association, Levent Neyse, Carsten Schröder, and co-authors discuss the research potential of the Innovation Sample of the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP-IS) for research in behavioral economics. Various behavioral economics modules have been implemented in SOEP-IS in recent years, and the resulting data are available to the research community for analysis. SOEP-IS also provides researchers the possibility to collect experimental and survey data tailored to their individual research questions. The article discusses the potential of innovative panel surveys like SOEP-IS, particularly as a supplement to classic experimental studies, and explains how researchers can access the data and submit proposals for their own modules in SOEP-IS. Please also see our SOEP-IS Companion.

Fischbacher, U. / Neyse, L. / Richter, D. / Schröder, C. (2023). Adding household surveys to the behavioral economics toolbox: insights from the SOEP innovation sample. Journal of the Economic Science Association. DOI: 10.1007/s40881-023-00150-6


Latest research on the collection, analysis, and application of panel data

In the journal Survey Research Methods, Sabine Zinn and Tobias Wolbring (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen) guest-edited a special issue on “Recent Methodological Advances in Panel Data Collection, Analysis, and Application.” In this special issue, researchers present current findings on incentivization strategies and their effects, measurement problems in panel studies, and new applications of panel data.

Zinn, S., / Wolbring, T. (2023). Recent Methodological Advances in Panel Data Collection, Analysis, and Application. Survey Research Methods, 17(3), 219-222. DOI: 10.18148/srm/2023.v17i3.8317


How the onset of chronic illness affects well-being

Barbara Stacherl and co-author Odile Sauzet analyzed SOEP data from around 3,800 respondents who were diagnosed with cancer, cardiopathy, diabetes, or strokes between 2008 and 2020. They found that the onset of a chronic illness had a direct negative effect on well-being (measured by satisfaction with life and health) and that this effect—especially in the case of life satisfaction—did not reverse in the long term. They also found that physical access to health care did not improve life satisfaction.

Stacherl, B. / Sauzet, O. (2023). Chronic disease onset and wellbeing development: longitudinal analysis and the role of healthcare access. European Journal of Public Health, ckad167. DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/ckad167


Whether refugees can pursue their former profession depends heavily on where they live

For the first time, Jan Goebel and coauthors combined data from the refugee survey and employment statistics to determine how local labor markets affect employment and occupational matching. In DIW Wochenbericht 30-31/2023 (in German), the researchers used SOEP data to analyze refugees’ previous occupations as well as local factors favoring employment in those occupations. According to the authors, distributing refugees based on local labor markets would create better employment opportunities for many of these individuals.

© DIW Berlin

Infographic for the DIW Wochenbericht 30-31/2023. Audio interview with Jan Goebel of DIW Berlin (in German)


SOEP study on mental health in Germany

What’s the status of mental health in Germany, and what are the factors affecting it? In DIW Wochenbericht 40/2023 (in German), Daniel Graeber, Mattis Beckmannshagen, and Barbara Stacherl used SOEP data to examine a series of socio-economic characteristics reflecting the development of mental health in Germany over the past approximately 20 years. Mental health has followed a similar upward trajectory to GDP, but significant slumps occurred during the recessions of 2008 and 2020. The results show that a poor social situation has a particularly negative impact on mental health. Although mental health in East Germany has improved more than in West Germany, differences remain.

© DIW Berlin

Infographic for the DIW Weekly Report 40/2023. Interview (in German) with Daniel Graeber at ZEIT Online (for subscribers).


Poorer half of the population: Pensions account for a large proportion of net worth

In DIW Wochenbericht 45/2023 (in German), SOEP researchers Charlotte Bartels, Markus M. Grabka, and Carsten Schröder and coauthor Timm Bönke analyzed the wealth situation of the population including pension assets. When pension assets are included, the share of the poorer segment of the population increases from 2 to 9 percent of total wealth in Germany, while the share of the wealthiest segment of the population decreases. According to the authors, the inclusion of pension assets in the wealth analysis is crucial in better assessing inequalities and pension reforms.

© DIW Berlin

Infographic for the DIW Weekly Report 45/2023. Audio interview (in German) with Timm Bönke (DIW)

WZB-SOEP-cooperation: „Lab²“ has won a Million-Euro funding by the Leibniz Association

The new WZB project "Incubator for Collaborative and Transparent Economic Sciences (Lab²)" – in cooperation with the SOEP researchers Levent Neyse and Carsten Schröder – has won one million euros in funding from the Leibniz Association in a competition. The project leaders Levent Neyse and Anna Dreber Almenberg (Stockholm School of Economics) aim to establish an international network of experimental laboratories at WZB, carry out replication and meta-science studies and share all datasets to make research practices more transparent and improve scientific standards. They will also organize workshops, conferences, seminar series and public lectures in addition to their research. Finally, knowledge transfer and educational activities will inform the scientific community and students about the findings and tools continuously. The global institutional network involves partners including German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), The National Library of Economics (ZBW), Center for Open Science (COS), German Reproducibility Network (DE-RN), Institute for Replication (I4R), Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in Social Sciences (BITSS) and Berlin School of Economics.


Academic and Professional Appointments

Carina Cornesse appointed to the ESRA Committee

Carina Cornesse has been appointed to the Committee of the European Survey Research Association (ESRA), the leading professional organization of applied survey researchers, methodologists, and statisticians from the academic, government, non-profit, and commercial sectors in Europe. She will serve as chair of communications for the 2023–2025 term.


Carina Cornesse appointed to DGOF Board

Carina Cornesse was recently appointed to the German Society for Online Research (DGOF) Board, where her responsibilities will include chairing the jury of the research promotion fund.


Markus M. Grabka appointed chair of the DEAS Scientific Advisory Committee

Markus M. Grabka has been appointed chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the German Ageing Survey (DEAS).


Degrees and dissertations 

Laura Buchinger, research associate at SOEP, successfully defended her doctoral thesis entitled "Life Goals Across Adulthood and Old Age: Associations with Personality and Well-being" at Freie Universität Berlin on November 27, 2023, supervised by David Richter. Congratulations to Laura!


Further awards

Theresa Entringer attends Early Career Program of the STS Forum in Japan

Theresa Entringer was one of five German researchers to take part in the Early Career Program of the Science and Technology in Society Forum (STS Forum) in Kyoto, Japan, from October 1–3, 2023. There, she met various Nobel Prize winners and discussed important current social issues with researchers and representatives of social and political organizations. We congratulate Theresa on this success and hope she had a great time!

Theresa Entringer at the STS forum 2023.
© STS forum


Welcome to SOEP

Denise Rolle began her training as a specialist in market and social research on September 1, 2023.

Verena Neumann has been working as knowledge transfer and communications officer at SOEP since September 15, 2023.

Jascha Dräger joined the Data Operations and Research Data Center division on September 18, 2023, where he will be working as a research associate in the field of education and inequality.

Cristóbal Moya joined the team as a research associate on September 26, 2023, as part of the PIJE project, which uses harmonized European survey data to study perceptions and assessments of social inequalities.

On October 1, Francesca Verga and Thomas Rieger, doctoral students in the DIW Graduate Center, began working in the SOEP’s Applied Panel Analysis division. Thomas has also taken over coordination of the from Viola Hilbert.

Isabella Retter joined the SOEP-LEE-2 project on October 4, 2023, as a research assistant. As part of this project, she will be investigating longer-term changes in industrial relations in the context of digitalization (and the COVID-19 pandemic).

Rayisa Gitina began work as a data scientist on the BRISE project, where she had previously worked as a student assistant, on October 27, 2023.

Isabel Gebhardt joined the SOEP-Transfer project as a research associate on November 1, 2023. The project aims to make the SOEP’s wealth of data accessible to journalists and contemporary historians.

DIW Berlin Alumni Jonas Jessen receives Leibniz Doctoral Prize 2023

This year's Leibniz Doctoral Awards for the best doctoral theses from Leibniz Institutes in the "Humanities and Social Sciences" category have been won by Nicole Mensching and Jonas Jessen. Jessen was part of the DIW Graduate Center from 2016 to 2022. He is being honored for his dissertation "Unintended Consequences and Spillover Effects of Family Policies: Six Essays in Labour and Family Economics," which he wrote at DIW Berlin and Freie Universität Berlin. In it, he analyzes family policy measures such as parental leave or early childhood care and their sometimes undesirable effects and side effects by using SOEP data.

His supervisor and first reviewer of the dissertation, C. Katharina Spieß, former head of the Education and Family Department, praised the work as undoubtedly an important contribution to the four economic fields of family, labor, gender, and education.


SOEP-based configurator for an unconditional basic income

Is there a way to finance an unconditional basic income? Working with the non-profit association Mein Grundeinkommen, a team from DIW Berlin led by Stefan Bach programmed a SOEP-based microsimulator that not only relies on income tax for refinancing but also takes other types of taxes and reforms to the tax system into account. With this interactive model configurator (in German), you can change various parameters of the tax system and view the social effects in real time.

Details can be found here in the research report on the microsimulation study as a PDF (in German).


IW Report: SOEP most important source of data for research on collective bargaining

The 45th report (in German) of the German Economic Institute (IW) on statistical measurement of collective wage agreement coverage highlights the SOEP as a particularly valuable source of data. According to the report, compared with the most important German surveys of collective bargaining coverage, the SOEP is the only one to ask employees about their collective bargaining coverage status and whether they are members of a trade union. In addition, the report notes, the SOEP data can be combined with other questions from the SOEP to obtain results differentiated by region and sector.

Lesch, H. / Schröder, C. (2023). Die statistische Erfassung von Tarifbindung und Tarifgeltung. Bestandsaufnahme und Reformvorschläge. IW-Report, No. 45, Cologne.


German Council of Economic Experts’ 2023 report with many analyses based on SOEP data

The German Council of Economic Experts, also known as the “Five Sages of the Economy”, has published its annual report (in German) on overcoming weak growth and investing in the future. The report contains comprehensive analyses of income distribution based on SOEP data. The expert opinions accompanying the report on topics such as reforms to basic social security benefits and taxation of spouses and on the effects of pension reforms on the development of poverty in old age are also based on SOEP data.

In one of its recommendations, the council emphasizes the need for a high-frequency household survey that maps the economic situation (labor market, consumption, expectations, income, assets, debt, etc.) of German households almost in real time (Bachmann et al., 2021). Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, politicians had only a very rough idea of this situation and were therefore often unable to precisely tailor economic policy measures. Accordingly, the council recommends: One step toward such a survey could be to systematically change the frequency of the SOEP to a rolling (quarterly) survey.

Call for Submissions: PMSW 2024

The 2024 Panel Survey Methods (PMSW) Workshop will take place at Utrecht University in the Netherlands on July 11 and 12, 2024. Submissions should address important methodological issues unique to the design and implementation of surveys, and in particular, panel surveys. The workshop will focus exclusively on survey methods, not on substantive outcomes.

Submissions should consist of an abstract of no more than 500 words; the deadline for submissions is January 8, 2024. Please submit abstracts by e-mail to Peter Lugtig.


Fifteenth IAB PhD Workshop

The Institute for Employment Research (IAB) and the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) are organizing the 15th PhD workshop “Perspectives on (Un-)Employment” on January 18 and 19, 2024, at the IAB, where doctoral students will present and discuss their work in the field of labor market research. Keynote speakers are Andrew Clark (Paris School of Economics) and Nadine Ketel (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam).


Call for Submissions: 15th Scientific Conference of ADM, ASI, and the Federal Statistical Office

The 15th Scientific Conference of the German Business Association for Market and Social Research (ADM), the Working Group of Social Science Institutes (ASI), and the Federal Statistical Office will take place on June 20 and 21, 2024 in Wiesbaden. The theme will be data collection, data quality, and data ethics in times of artificial intelligence. Please submit abstracts (max. 500 words) in German or English from scientific, administrative, market, and opinion research or from other institutions dealing with questions on the use of artificial intelligence for data collection, data quality, and data ethics by January 31, 2024, by e-mail. Methodological contributions, theoretical discussions, and best use cases are welcome.


Call for Presentations: 21st German Stata Users Group Meeting

The 21st meeting of the German Stata User Group will take place on Friday, June 7, 2024, at the GESIS—Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences in Mannheim. All Stata users from Germany and abroad, as well as anyone interested in Stata, are invited to participate and submit papers. If you are interested, please send an abstract by e-mail to one of the scientific organizers (max. 200 words). The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2024. Contact information can be found in the call for presentations.


ISQOLS 2024 Virtual Winter Conference: Recent Developments in Well-Being and Quality of Life Research

The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) is hosting a virtual winter conference on February 7 and 8, 2024 on “Recent Developments in Well-Being and Quality of Life Studies”. This online conference will provide a platform for researchers from different disciplines to present empirical and theoretical papers addressing the latest developments in well-being and quality of life studies with a focus on innovative approaches, novel methods, and interdisciplinary perspectives.


GESIS Spring Seminar 2024

The GESIS Spring Seminar offers high-quality training in state-of-the-art techniques in quantitative data analysis taught by leading experts in the field. It is designed for advanced graduate or PhD students, post-docs, as well as junior and senior researchers in the social sciences and beyond. Extensive hands-on exercises and tutorials complement lectures in each course.

The Spring Seminar will take place onsite at GESIS Cologne, Germany, from 26 February to 15 March 2024. Courses must be booked separately. There is no registration deadline, but places are limited and allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

For registration and detailed information on the Spring Seminar 2024, please see here.


Call for Papers: German Thesis Award 2024

The German Thesis Award 2024 is an award aimed at supporting young academics from all disciplines who submitted an outstanding dissertation with high social significance in 2023. It is one of the most highly endowed prizes for young researchers in Germany, with three top prizes of 25,000 euros each. The deadline for registration is March 1, 2024.

The award’s patron is Bärbel Bas, President of the German Bundestag.