News of SOEP http://www.diw.de/en/diw_02.c.221179.en/news_and_events.html News, Press Releases and job offers of SOEP en http://diw.de/sixcms/media.php/37/thumbnails/soep-logo_kl.jpeg.458933.jpeg SOEP (DIW Berlin) http://www.diw.de/en/soep In Germany, Younger, Better Educated Persons, and Lower Income Groups Are More Likely to Be in Favor of Unconditional Basic Income http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.618858.en by  Jule Adriaans, Stefan Liebig and Juergen Schupp

Representative survey results have shown a stable approval rate for implementing unconditional basic income of between 45 and 52 percent in Germany since 2016/17. In European comparison, this approval rate is low. Younger, better educated persons, and those at risk of poverty support the concept of unconditional basic income in Germany. But these demographics are not the only factors that correlate with attitudes toward unconditional basic income: subjective justice attitudes do as well. The justice norm of equity and unconditional basic income appear to be contradictory. On the other hand, people who find that there are deficits in covering the needs of society’s lower income groups tend to approve of unconditional basic income. Therefore, analyses show that attitudes toward unconditional basic income follow specific patterns and social regularities; and they were relatively stable between 2016 and 2018. As long as uncertainty predominates regarding the social costs and benefits of implementing such a basic income, the relatively high proportion of those in favor must be interpreted with care. It does not indicate that society is actually ready for reforms in this direction.


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Wed, 10 Apr 2019 10:40:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.618858.en
The Low-Wage Sector in Germany Is Larger Than Previously Assumed http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.618335.en by  Markus M. Grabka and Carsten Schröder

The total number of dependent employees in Germany has increased by more than four million since the financial crisis. Part of this growth took place in the low-wage sector. Analyses based on data from the Socio-Economic Panel, which in 2017 for the first time include detailed information on secondary employment, show that there were around nine million low-wage employment contracts in Germany that year, around one quarter of all contracts. Women, young adults and employees in Eastern Germany are particularly likely to receive low wages. The legal minimum wage introduced in 2015 is below the low-wage threshold, and thus did not decrease the proportion of low-wage employees, although wages at the bottom-end of the distribution did markedly increase. Wage mobility has hardly changed since the mid-1990s: almost two thirds of employees in the lowest wage category were still there three years later. In order to curtail the low-wage sector, a better and broader qualification of workers, as well as a more proactive wage policy are called for. A reform of the mini-job rules would also be helpful.


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Wed, 03 Apr 2019 03:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.618335.en
Valeriia Heidemann joins SOEP http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.618765.en Valeriia Heidemann joined the SOEP team on March 1. She will be responsible for preparing data from the Survey of Refugees while Jana Nebelin is on leave. Valeriia holds a master’s in sociology from Freie Universität Berlin. While completing her degree, she worked as a student assistant at the SOEP and gained experience with SOEP data preparation. She will now be working as part of a team integrating data from the samples of migrants and refugees (IAB-SOEP Migration Sample and IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees) into SOEP-Core as Samples M1-M2 and M3-M5. She is happy to answer questions about these samples, and will be coordinating the inclusion of new questions.


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Sat, 09 Mar 2019 02:51:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.618765.en
SOEP-Core Data 1984-2017 (v34) released! http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.616309.en The new wave of SOEP-Core data (v34, 1984-2017) has been released! With this wave, we have completely revised our data provision process. To read more about the improvements awaiting you, click here.

If you haven’t ordered the v34 data yet, the SOEP hotline staff will be happy to take your order online in English: http://www.diw.de/SOEPorder or German: http://www.diw.de/SOEPbestellung

SOEPhelp: A Stata.ado is available for the current dataset, v34. It displays information about datasets and variables directly in the Stata window. More information about the installation and use of SOEPhelp is provided in the SOEPcompanion.

And once again, we would like to highlight our new SOEPcompanion, which is a great help both in explaining the (new) structure of the current data release and generally in working with the SOEP data.

Beside the What’s New section, which is already published on our website, we will be providing you with all other documentation in the weeks to come. Due to work currently underway to redesign our website, you will find this information in the RDC section of our website under “Data – SOEP-Core.


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Sat, 09 Mar 2019 01:32:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.616309.en
Martin Kroh has been appointed to the Commission for Integration http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.616251.en Martin Kroh  has been appointed to the newly established Fachkommission Integrationsfähigkeit of the Federal Government.

The aim of the Commission is to describe the economic, labor market, social and demographic conditions for integration and to propose standards for improving them.


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Thu, 07 Mar 2019 01:32:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.616251.en
Marco Giesselmann winner of the Young Scholar award http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.616249.en Together with co-authors Marina Hagen and Reinhard Schunck, Marco Giesselmann has received the Advances in Life Course Research Young Scholar Award for the paper “Motherhood and mental well-being in Germany: Linking a longitudinal life course design and the gender perspective on motherhood.”
Read the winning paper for free here!


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Thu, 07 Mar 2019 01:23:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.616249.en
SOEP People: Five Questions to Andrew Clark http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.616184.en Andrew Clark is a CNRS Research Professor at the Paris School of Economics (PSE).  He previously held posts at Dartmouth, Essex, CEPREMAP, DELTA, the OECD and the University of Orléans. As a longtime SOEP data user, he was one of the first researchers worldwide to use SOEP data to study well-being in collaboration with psychologists.

Over the last three decades, Clark’s work has focused on the interface between psychology, sociology and economics; in particular, using job and life satisfaction scores. We talked to him about his research and about how his insights have reflected onto his life.

1. In 2003, together with Ed Diener, Richard Lucas, and Yannis Georgellis, you published a groundbreaking paper reexamining the theory that after initially reacting to major life and labor market events, people’s well-being gradually returns toward baseline levels. What did you find out?

Looking at these events based on SOEP data, we asked: Do you get used to everything? And we found out that you don’t. But different events have different effects. Some events have only ephemeral effects on well-being: divorce surprisingly has only a short-run effect—a very large effect, but not a permanent one.  Having children is the opposite: it’s very good for about 12 to 24 months, and then the effect goes away. Marriage as a legal status has very little effect on well-being: a small positive tick and then it goes down again. But some things continue to matter over time. Becoming unemployed is negative and remains just as negative in the third or fourth year of unemployment. Poverty is bad and stays bad. In fact, any sustained fall in income leads to a sustained fall in well-being. A positive event to which we do not adapt—and I had to change my thinking on this—is not marriage, but being in a relationship. So being with someone is always good. When you get married, there’s a little blip that then goes away, but you’ve still got the well-being premium from the relationship.

2. When you started working on well-being, it was a relatively unusual topic for an economist. How did you end up doing what you’re doing?

It’s been a series of chance meetings over the course of my life. When I was at school at about age 14, I was an absolutely appalling geography student, very poor, at the bottom of the class. We had a new teacher who made that subject come alive for me. The next year, I found out he was teaching A-level economics. And I said, if he could do such a good job getting me interested in rivers and lakes, he’s got to be a good teacher for economics, whatever that is. I ended up doing A-level economics and enjoying it, and since I could do maths it was natural choice to do undergraduate economics at university. The interest in comparisons and life satisfaction was a chance comment by Andrew Oswald, and the work on adaptation in well-being was the result of a chance meeting with Ed Diener in the lunch queue of a canteen. That’s just how life develops.

3. You’ve been studying well-being for more than 20 years. Have your findings and insights reflected back onto your life?

Earlier this year we finished work on a book called The Origins of Happiness that used different data sets including the SOEP to construct statistical models of well-being following people over time as they age and starting at a very young age. One of the general lessons we learned is that relationships are absolutely key. Relationships with others—family relationships, relationships with friends, relationships with society, and relationships at work—are difficult to measure but consistently came out as being at least as important as the objective variables we usually look at.

For me personally, one thing I have realized as I age is that at some point our children leave home, at some point we leave work, at some point we may separate. If we don’t invest in relationships throughout our lives, we may end up all on our own—just at the time we’re least able to cope with it. And one thing that has really struck me over the past year is that we can’t just leave everyone and concentrate on our work or on one thing. We need to take care of all those aspects of our life around us because we’re going to need them, and probably earlier than we think.

4. Do you see new perspectives opening up for the research on well-being?

The next big project is loneliness. We are all living longer. We are not necessarily retiring that much later, though it probably feels like it. We’re having smaller families. Our families are more dispersed. We are going to be faced with whole cohorts of older people living mostly on their own, who are not close to their children or family. This is going to have to be addressed. I’d really like to use the SOEP data to work on this—not just to look at objective social isolation but also at subjective well-being, at the feeling of loneliness: I just don’t have enough friends; I don’t have enough people with whom to interact. This is going to be terribly important, not just in terms of individual well-being but also in terms of health, the use of social services, morbidity, and mortality. I think of it as one of the great forthcoming challenges in social science.

5. You’ve been a social scientist for over 30 years. What advice would you give to young researchers?

Look around you and see what others are doing and working on. And then go and do something else. Because if if everybody is working on the same thing—like everyone is working on randomized control trials at the moment—there’s not much low-hanging fruit left. There’s not much left to say, and your chance of having an impact is elsewhere. It’s maybe a more risky choice, but the expected returns are larger.


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Thu, 07 Mar 2019 09:55:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.616184.en
Quality Control in the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.616027.en Following the identification of interviews that were not conducted In line with the standards of the IAB-BAMF-SOEP group in the first wave of the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees in 2016 (news and documentation), the project partners and the fieldwork institute substantially enhanced and reinforced their quality control and quality assurance processes. In addition to improvements in fieldwork monitoring  by the fieldwork institute and in standard procedures for monitoring statistical anomalies, a new procedure has been developed to identify statistical anomalies in interviewer data (Kosyakova et al. 2019).

Through the use of this new statistical procedure, three further suspected interviewers have been identified with statistical anomalies.  All affected interviews have been deleted from the dataset (version v.34) prior to distribution.

These enhanced monitoring procedures identified statistical anomalies in two further interviewers in addition to the previously identified interviewer who had conducted interviews in the first wave of the study (see Kosyakova et al. 2019). Although it has not been possible to determine conclusively whether these interviewers did not follow proper procedures and standards of the IAB-BAMF-SOEP group in all of their interviews, the project partners have decided, in consultation with the survey research institute Kantar Public, to delete all interviews by interviewers who are suspected of having failed to follow proper procedures in interviews. This means that 47 additional household interviews and 62 additional individual interviews have been deleted from the first wave. This leaves 4,465 respondents and 3,273 household interviews for analysis of the first wave of the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees in version V34 of the data.

Impacts on the Net Sample

In sum, these deletions have a minimal impact on the results. The 62 deleted individual interviews are the equivalent of around 1 percent of the total sample (N = 4,527). This means that possible deviations in univariate statistics cannot exceed this 1 percent level. Furthermore, the responses in these interviews are distributed in a relatively unsystematic way. Changes are likely to be negligible. This can be seen when looking at the values for a range of variables, such as the distribution by age, gender, employment status, German proficiency, and completion of education and training (e.g., according to the ISCED classification). As Table 1 shows, the only changes are in the decimal range. All values are weighted.

Table 1: Selected characteristics of respondents by data version in percentages (weighted)

 

v.33.1

v.34

Gender

 

 

Male

73.6

73.3

Female

26.4

26.7

Total

100

100

Observations

4527

4465

Age (grouped)

 

 

18-29

54.5

54.6

30-59

43.2

43.2

60-83

2.3

2.2

Total

100

100

Observations

4525

4463

Employment

 

 

Part-time

2.9

2.8

Apprenticeship, training

1.2

1.2

Marginal

2.3

2.3

Not employed

88.1

88.0

Internship

2.5

2.6

Total

100

100

Observations

4527

4465

Additive Index of German language proficiency (reading, speaking, writing)

 

 

Excellent

24.4

25.3

Medium

19.4

19.8

Poor

56.2

54.9

Total

100

100

Observations

4523

4461

Schooling according to the ISCED 11 classification

 

 

In school

0.8

0.8

Primary

36.8

36.2

Lower Secondary

20.6

19.9

Upper Secondary

20.7

21.1

Post-Secondary

3.4

3.4

Bachelor

16.7

17.3

Promotion

1.1

1.1

Total

100

100

Observations

4167

4131

Regional Impacts

With regard to regional biases, we can currently rule out the possibility that the character of a random sample has been lost due to the aforementioned deletions. On the one hand, the design and nonresponse weight has been adjusted accordingly, and on the other, we have determined that the interviewers do not serve any one Primary Sampling Unit (PSU – regional cluster) in exclusivity. The regions affected therefore still have sufficient numbers of households both for analysis of the initial wave of the survey and for analysis of further survey waves. In total, seven PSUs are affected, with household interviews having been carried out in six of these. These PSUs are all in Bavaria. The deleted households make up around 1 percent of all household interviews conducted in this state (541).

The Second (2017) Wave of the Data

The enhanced quality control processes were used in the second wave of data collection from the beginning. As a result, any interviews that were not conducted according to proper procedures have been identified at a very early stage and deleted (see Kosyakova et al. 2019). Households whose data were deleted only in the second wave due to interviews that may not have been conducted according to proper procedures are treated as temporary dropouts and  have been contacted again in the third wave in survey year 2018. The weighting factors for the first and the second waves have been adjusted accordingly. By taking these steps, we have ensured the high quality and unrestricted usability of the data.


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Tue, 05 Mar 2019 02:26:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.616027.en
Mirjam Fischer supports the SOEP team http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.612921.en As of February, Mirjam Fischer supports the SOEP team in the SOEP-LGB project where an oversample of lesbian, gay and bisexual persons is collected. She will be involved in questionnaire design, constructing weights and analyzing the data. She is a sociologist by training and in her scientific work she studies inequality between people in same-sex and mixed-sex relationships. In her dissertation at the University of Amsterdam, which she will shortly defend, she conducted four comparative studies of the social well-being gap between persons in same-sex and mixed-sex relationships in Europe.


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Thu, 07 Feb 2019 12:42:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.612921.en
Philipp Kaminsky has passed his final exam as a Specialist in Market and Social Research (FAMS) http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.612662.en pkaminsky.jpg

Congratulations to Philipp Kaminsky for passing his FAMS final exam on January 24, 2019!

Philipp will be supporting the SOEP team in the SOEP Research Data Center (SOEP-RDC) by answering questions and requests on the SOEP-Hotline and taking care of contract management.


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Fri, 01 Feb 2019 09:30:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.612662.en
Language Skills and Employment Rate of Refugees in Germany Improving with Time http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.612345.en by Herbert Brücker, Johannes Croisier, Yuliya Kosyakova, Hannes Kröger, Giuseppe Pietrantuono, Nina Rother and Jürgen Schupp

Asylum seekers migrating to Germany remains a hotly debated topic. The second wave of a longitudinal survey of refugees shows that their integration has progressed significantly, even though some refugees came to Germany in poor health and with little formal education. Compared to the previous year, refugees’ German skills have improved, as have their participation rates in the workforce, education, and training.


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Mon, 28 Jan 2019 11:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.612345.en
SOEPcampus@DIW Berlin 2019 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.607954.en Our annual in-house introductory workshop to the SOEP will take place on March 5 and 6, 2019.

There will be lectures on the topics covered in the SOEP study, documentation, and sample structure, along with a variety of hands-on sessions allowing participants to go through the various steps in data preparation and analysis with assistance from SOEP team members. There is a small fee to cover food at the workshop.

Details on registration are published here (only in German). Registration is open now until January 27th, 2019.


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Tue, 08 Jan 2019 12:04:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.607954.en
Seasonal greetings http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.610550.en

Wishing you the happiest of holidays and a healthy and successful 2019.

On behalf of the whole SOEP team at DIW Berlin.

Please note that the SOEP-FDZ is closed from December 21, 2018 until January 4, 2019!

Weihnachtskarte_2018.jpg

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Fri, 21 Dec 2018 10:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.610550.en
SOEP User Survey 2018 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.610547.en Our annual SOEP User Survey has started again.

We would like to ask you to complete a short questionnaire. By doing so, you will help us continue improving the SOEP data and our services to the international SOEP user community.

If you did not receive a personal invitation, please register here.
(This link will be active only up to January 14, 2019.)

The entire survey will take only 10 minutes to complete. We hope to have achieved an appropriate balance between the time that the survey requires of you and the benefits your information and personal opinions will offer to the ongoing development of the SOEP study. This year we have a special interest to learn which generated data sets the users mainly use for their analyses. We hope for high participation among our user community, including the new users who have joined since last year.

The results of this survey will be published in an upcoming SOEPnewsletter. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at any time: usersurvey@diw.de


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Mon, 17 Dec 2018 11:47:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.610547.en
SOEPnewsletter 2018-11 in a new format http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.613101.en Based on extensive positive feedback from our users, we have decided to send the SOEPnewsletter in a simple and easily readable HTML format from now on. We would be glad about your feedback.

It will then mainly receive links to the news and content available on our website.

Please visit the current SOEPnewsletter

in our common web design

as a one page pdf document


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Fri, 30 Nov 2018 12:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.613101.en
SOEPcompanion to replace DTC http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.608492.en The SOEPcompanion offers users a wealth of information on the data in the main SOEP survey (SOEP-Core).

This online handbook is designed to help new users getting started with the SOEP by introducing the survey, its structure, and research potential. The SOEPcompanion provides also important information on the topics in SOEP-Core, survey design, the various subsamples, a precise explanation of the data structure, and specific instructions on working with the various SOEP data products. In sum, we believe it will become an important reference and practical manual for understanding and working with the SOEP-Core data.

Browse the beta version of our new SOEPcompanion!

Contact: Stefan Zimmermann, Selin Kara

E-mail: szimmermann@diw.de or skara@diw.de


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Thu, 29 Nov 2018 10:04:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.608492.en
Information portal paneldata.org and SOEPinfo http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.608490.en 1. paneldata.org

We are pleased to announce that the script generator and basket in Paneldata.org, which can be used by simply registering and logging in, have been thoroughly revised and now offer the following improved functions:

  • More intuitive design and navigation
  • Variables placed in the basket are now easier to supplement with connected variables over time.
  • A list of variables can be exported as a csv file
  • Several script generation errors have been eliminated

We will be soon be adding more features in our topic list for the SOEP-Core data as well as improved documentation on questionnaires and datasets.

2. SOEPinfo

In response to requests from many of our users, we have decided to continue providing SOEPinfo in additional to paneldata.org to generate files for analysis. Up to now, only metadata up to 2013 were available in the “old” SOEPinfo

We will soon also be adding documentation on the current wave v33 (Daten 1984-2016) for the cross-sectional data format. We thus offer users two ways to generate datasets for analysis: SOEPinfo and paneldata.org.
Documentation on long-format variables continues to be provided only in paneldata.org.


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Thu, 29 Nov 2018 10:03:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.608490.en
SOEP-Core v34 – What’s New? http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.608489.en For a more detailled What's new version, please refer to the Changes in the Dataset'

1. New, user-friendly integrated data format

In the new wave of the SOEP-Core study, we are bringing together the wide and long data formats, which were previously provided to users separately. In so doing, we aim to eliminate any confusion about what is available in which format and to make data use easier overall. After having tested SOEPlong for several years as an additional service facilitating data analysis for both beginning and longtime users, we will now be providing all datasets in “long” format as a standard part of our SOEP data release.

This means that all data users will be receiving the different SOEP data formats listed below in their data file, some of which will be in separate subdirectories. Please make sure that you unpack the entire directory structure when unpacking your data.

1.1 “Long” format on the top level

In the top-level (or root) directory, you will find all of the datasets provided up to now with SOEPlong (e.g., pl, ppfadl, etc.) as well as all of the additional datasets formerly provided only in our classic “wide” format (e.g., the biographical or spell data such as bioparen, artkalen, etc.). All of the data in the main SOEP-Core study are therefore covered by the datasets in the top-level directory.

1.2 Classic format in the subdirectory “raw”

Since we know that many users have existing scripts that are based on the original data format, and to enable users to understand the process of generating the “long” data, we provide all of the datasets in their original SOEP format in the directory “raw”. Users who want to continue using the old format simply need to switch into this subdirectory and use the datasets there. The only change is that there are now additional identifiers in all of the datasets in the “raw” directory with the name in the long format (pid and persnr or hid and $hhnrakt) and an “syear” variable so that users can easily merge variables from the two data formats.

1.3 The “long”-format SOEP data

After having provided the “long” data for several years as an additional service to facilitate data use, we are convinced that this format is easier to use especially for beginners. We have therefore decided to use this as our primary data format in future data releases. 

All available individual year-specific datasets are pooled into a single dataset (e.g. all $P datsets are integrated into the PL dataset). In some cases, this means that we have to harmonize variables over time. Harmonization is undertaken to be able to define variables consistently over time: For instance, income information is given in euros up to 2001 and not in deutschmarks, and in cases where questionnaires have changed, the categories are modified over time. All changes are presented to users in a clear and understandable way, and all modified variables are provied in their original form. SOEPlong thus significantly reduces the number of datasets and the number of variables.

A more detailed description of the future format of our SOEP-Core data releases can be found in our new SOEPcompanion

2. New EU-SILC clone

Many users are undoubtedly aware that the SOEP supports cross-national analysis with CNEF through the dataset pequiv. We have now produced a data product that allows you to use the SOEP data in comparative analyses with the EU-SILC (European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions) data. EU-SILC, which is provided by Eurostat upon request, offers cross-sectional and longitudinal information for many European countries. Up to now, only cross-sectional information have been available for Germany. The EU-SILC clone offers longitudinal information on private households in Germany based on the SOEP data. All of the information contained in it can be directly compared with the EU-SILC longitudinal information on other European countries. The EU-SILC clone is integrated into the standard SOEP data release (in another subdirectory). Documentation on the 2005-2016 EU-SILC clone can be found here.

3 New samples in the main SOEP study

The new SOEP data release (v34) will be the first to contain data from the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees in Germany as Sample M5, as well as the continuation of the PIAAC-L Survey, as Sample N.

IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees (M5)

The SOEP, in cooperation with the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) and the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), has succeeded in integrating a third sample of refugee households (M5) into the SOEP study. The survey was launched in 2017. The population of M5 covers adult refugees who have applied for asylum in Germany since January 1, 2013, and are currently living in Germany. M5 added another 1,519 households of refugees who have migrated to Germany since 2013 to the SOEP framework.  

Integration of respondents from PIAAC-L as Subsample N

Sample N integrated 2,314 households of former participants of the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC and PIAAC-L) in 2017. This is the most recent addition to the SOEP-Core samples. Fieldwork in sample N was conducted between mid-March and mid-August and thus slightly later than the majority of samples A–L1.  More information on the PIAAC-L project


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Thu, 29 Nov 2018 09:58:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.608489.en
SOEP People: Five Questions to Bruce Headey http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.608480.en What makes people happy? Australian Political Scientist Bruce Headey was not only one of the first SOEP data users—he was one of the first researchers in the world to discover the value of the SOEP for research on happiness. Headey is a Principal Fellow at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research in the University of Melbourne. He is a specialist in welfare and distributional issues and at the forefront of current international research on the efficacy of social welfare policies in Western Europe and North America.

1. Happiness has been one focus of your research for several decades. Do your findings point to a kind of “recipe” for happiness?

One of the strange things in the West is the assumption that the same recipe for happiness would suit everybody. I don’t think that’s true. I think there are different approaches that work well for different people. People who are relatively altruistic and cooperative tend to be rather happy. Sometimes these are religious people. Other people’s happiness comes mainly through the family. What doesn’t work so well is a materialistic and careerist approach, which seems to lead to unhappiness even in those areas of life to which materialistic people give priority, such as their job and their income.

2. Your findings overturned the idea of a genetically determined “set point” for happiness across the life. That brought about a paradigm shift.

There was a period between 1985 and 2005 when Western life satisfaction researchers believed that most people had a “set point” of life satisfaction that depended on genetic personality traits. But with the panel data, it slowly became obvious that that paradigm for life satisfaction research was just wrong. There were loads of people in the SOEP—the first panel to provide this evidence—who had rather volatile patterns of life satisfaction. If you traced their life satisfaction from year to year on a graph, you could see that some people’s lives were a wild ride: They had ups and downs and periods when they were happy and periods of misery. So the set point theory was actually kicked out by the SOEP data, pure and simple.

That caused quite a stir in the scientific community ….
What always happens in all the sciences is that people fight like hell to retain the old paradigm and patch it up in weird ways. So there are still people around who say that in the long run, people may revert to a set point that might be predicted by their personality traits. But our research showed that, while personality is a stabilizing factor, happiness is also made up of a lot of choices. If you marry somebody who is more neurotic than yourself, you’re done. If you marry somebody who is rather nice and less neurotic than yourself, that permanently increases your well-being. Your work also makes a difference: People who work a lot more hours than they want to are a lot less happy than people who work about the hours they prefer. Of course, that’s not entirely your choice—it also depends on your employer.

3. Academics are relatively free to set their own working hours. Are they also more likely to end up being happy?

Academics have a wide choice of time uses and topics of research, and by and large we don’t have a boss bearing down on us all that fiercely. We also know that academics and vicars are the longest lived people on the planet—the shortest lived are doctors and dentists. The reason why people live longer if they are academics or vicars is probably connected to happiness. The occupations that people get into have an effect on longevity. People in more autonomous occupations tend to be happier…and happy people do live longer than others—that’s clear. We recently published a study on the relationship between happiness and longevity, using SOEP data, in Social Indicators Research “Happiness and Longevity: Unhappy People Die Young, Otherwise Happiness Probably Makes No Difference”.

4. If you look at the SOEP study today, what makes it unique?

It’s the only panel study in which you can observe all kinds of changes in people’s lives across three generations—there are now a number of grandparents in addition to parents and kids from the same families. As the time we observe people gets longer and longer, the more we will be able to address long-run questions about social and economic change. And in the end, I think that the idea of transgenerational structured inequality will turn out to be more untrue than true. I think ultimately SOEP will show that traditional sociology is just bilge.

5. What would you recommend to young people today who are starting a career in research?

If you’re a young researcher these days, you’re almost forced to design your research in terms of real experiments—randomized control trials—or natural experiments. And I think that the people who work on SOEP will want to combine SOEP data, maybe using it as a sort of background file, with other datasets that allow them to analyze it in an experimental or quasi-experimental way. My kids, who are young economists, can’t get stuff published in top journals unless it’s experimental or quasi-experimental. So something like the global financial crisis is a terrific opportunity: A whole lot of people take a wealth hit and you can see how they react in all kinds of ways—financially, in terms of life satisfaction, everything. But it’s getting harder and harder to publish if you’re just analyzing panel data in the way it’s collected.


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Thu, 29 Nov 2018 09:45:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.608480.en
Gert G. Wagner was awarded the Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.608218.en Gert G. Wagner was awarded the Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany on September 3, 2018, by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier for his services to the Federal Republic of Germany. The cross was presented on November 19, 2018, by Berlin’s Secretary of State, Christian Gaebler.

As a Professor Emeritus, Gert G. Wagner continues to be very active in research and policy work: he is working as a Senior Research Fellow at the SOEP and as a Max Planck Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. In April, he joined the network of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society as a Research Associate. Since June, he has been a member of the newly created interdisciplinary research group “Implications of digitization for the quality of science communication" at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) in cooperation with acatech (German Academy of Science and Engineering). In July, he was appointed to the editorial board of the renowned multidisciplinary online journal PLOS One.
Recently he was re-appointed to a four-year term on the Advisory Council for Consumer Affairs of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection by Katarina Barley, Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection.


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Mon, 26 Nov 2018 03:17:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.608218.en