News of SOEP News, Press Releases and job offers of SOEP en SOEP (DIW Berlin) Reordering the migspell data Our most recent data release (v34) mistakenly included the previous version of the migspell dataset rather than an updated version. Those interested can reorder this dataset by sending an e-mail to soepmail or calling the SOEPhotline.

Mon, 27 May 2019 01:45:00 +0200
A refugeeā€™s personality is one of the factors which decides how successful integration is An increased willingness to take risks, reciprocating friendliness, and a conviction that they are in control of their own lives lead to refugees gaining a foothold in Germany faster.  

Refugees who are more willing to take risks, who tend to reciprocate friendliness, and who are more strongly convinced than others are that they are in control of their lives integrate into society faster. This is the result of a study undertaken on the basis of the “IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees in Germany” which researchers from the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) at the German Institute of Economic Research (DIW) devised in conjunction with researchers from the University of the Saarland and the University of Münster. The study was published recently in the “Collabra: Psychology” journal.

Tue, 21 May 2019 09:21:00 +0200
Theresa Entringer joins SOEP Theresa Entringer completed her doctorate with Prof. Gebauer at the University of Mannheim. Her dissertation, entitled “The Sociocultural Motives Perspective: Personality and the social motive for assimilation versus contrast”, investigates why and to what degree sociocultural contexts moderate the relationship between the self-concept and socially and individually relevant variables such as religiosity, prosociality, and self-esteem. Since May, Theresa Entringer has been part of the GDR-Past and Mental Health: Risk and Protection Factors ( DDR-PSYCH) project and will be conducting research on protective and risk factors for psychological health in East vs. West Germany.

Fri, 17 May 2019 12:11:00 +0200
SOEPtutorials - Video Introduction to the SOEP We are pleased to present our new SOEPtutorial series! SOEPtutorials are designed both for first-time users of the SOEP data and for users who would like a quick refresher to bring them back up to date. SOEPtutorials can be watched sequentially for a step-by-step introduction to working with the data, or individually for answers to specific questions.

SOEPtutorials at the DIW Mediathek or SOEP YouTube

Thu, 16 May 2019 12:52:00 +0200
SOEP-IS Release 2017 available The SOEP-IS Release 2017 provides household data from 1998 to bis 2017 and the data from the innovative modules 2011 to 2016.

We will be happy to receive your order. Please use our online form.

More information on data access, sample development, innovative modules and the data files included you will find here.

Thu, 16 May 2019 12:12:00 +0200
Dominique Hansen joins SOEP Dominique Hansen joined the SOEP team in April. He is taking over the development of from Marcel Hebing with a focus on user experience, software quality, and data quality. In his studies of information science, he explored the quality of research software, reproducibility, open science, and good scientific practice.

Mon, 13 May 2019 04:06:00 +0200
Updates to our information system We have integrated the SOEPlong metadata into the SOEP-Core metadata on in the process of updating the information on the current wave of SOEP-Core (v34). We have also made a few additional improvements:

  • Improved presentation of topics. This makes it even easier to search for variables that are relevant to a particular research topic.
  • All questionnaires from 2016 and 2017 are now available on, along with the corresponding variables in both German and English. We are currently working to include previous years’ questionnaires.
  • The SOEPlit database is now available on and can be searched. In it, you can find previously published papers on your research topic. If your own publications are missing, please send us a copy that we can use to update the database and keep in our archives (
  • The “basket” function, which you can use to collect the variables you need, and the script generator, which you can use to create database scripts for the data you need, have been available for some time. You can use this functions after completing a simple registration procedure.
  • Metadata from the German Internet Panel (GIP), a further study outside the SOEP family in addition to TwinLife and pairfam, are now available on

Mon, 06 May 2019 02:31:00 +0200
Recent journal article about the SOEP data out now **Update**

Just published: a new journal article to describe and refer to the SOEP data.

Jan Goebel, Markus M. Grabka, Stefan Liebig, Martin Kroh, David Richter, Carsten Schröder, Jürgen Schupp. 2019. The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP). Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik / Journal of Economics and Statistics  239(2), 345-60. doi: 10.1515/jbnst-2018-0022 (Open Access)

Tue, 16 Apr 2019 02:55:00 +0200
In Germany, Younger, Better Educated Persons, and Lower Income Groups Are More Likely to Be in Favor of Unconditional Basic Income 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.

Wed, 10 Apr 2019 10:40:00 +0200
Hans Walter Steinhauer member of the SOEP team Hans Walter Steinhauer joined the SOEP team on April 1. He will be working in the Survey Methodology and Management research area on sampling, weighting, and imputation. He will support the research area by contributing his experience from work on the National Educational Panel (NEPS) and other studies of the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi). Hans holds a doctorate in survey statistics. His research focuses on item and unit non-response as well as panel attrition.

Tue, 09 Apr 2019 04:11:00 +0200
Stefan Liebig appointed Professor of Empirical Social Structure Analysis and Survey Methodology at FU Berlin SOEP Director and DIW Executive Board Member Professor Stefan Liebig has been appointed Professor of Empirical Social Structure Analysis and Survey Methodology at FU Berlin, where he began work on April 1, 2019. His position is a joint professorship between FU Berlin and DIW Berlin.

Stefan Liebig conducts research on social inequality and social structure analysis with a focus on attitudes towards social justice. He has been Director of the SOEP at DIW Berlin since early 2018. He is a member of the German Data Forum (RatSWD) and Deputy Chair of the German Council for Scientific Information Infrastructures (RfII). Liebig previously held a professorship at the University of Bielefeld.

Sun, 07 Apr 2019 12:14:00 +0200
The Low-Wage Sector in Germany Is Larger Than Previously Assumed 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.

Wed, 03 Apr 2019 03:00:00 +0200
SOEP People: A Conversation with Bruce Headey 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. He spoke to us about recipes for happiness, the joys of academic life, and about life as a roller coaster ride.


Fri, 22 Mar 2019 01:13:00 +0200
SOEPnewsletter 2019-3 published 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

Wed, 20 Mar 2019 12:00:00 +0200
Valeriia Heidemann joins SOEP 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.

Sat, 09 Mar 2019 02:51:00 +0200
SOEP-Core Data 1984-2017 (v34) released! 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: or German:

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.

Sat, 09 Mar 2019 01:32:00 +0200
Martin Kroh has been appointed to the Commission for Integration 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.

Thu, 07 Mar 2019 01:32:00 +0200
Marco Giesselmann winner of the Young Scholar award 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!

Thu, 07 Mar 2019 01:23:00 +0200
SOEP People: Five Questions to Andrew Clark 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.

Thu, 07 Mar 2019 09:55:00 +0200
Quality Control in the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees 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)



















Age (grouped)
























Apprenticeship, training






Not employed












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


















Schooling according to the ISCED 11 classification



In school






Lower Secondary



Upper Secondary


















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.

Tue, 05 Mar 2019 02:26:00 +0200