Joint Programming Initiative

More Years, Better Lives

The Potential and Challenges of Demographic Change

Labour Market and Social Security
Arbeitsmarkt und soziale Sicherung (PASS)

Work and Productivity
Relevance for this Topic
Country Germany
More Topics


Contact information

Dr. Joachim Wolff / Research Department Basic Income Support and Activation
Institute for Employment Research (IAB) of the German Federal Employment Agency (BA)
Regensburger Str. 104
D- 90478 Nuremberg
Phone: Tel.: +49 (0)911-179-0
Fax: Fax: +49 (0)911-179-3258
Email: IAB(at)

Timeliness, transparency

The interviews are conducted from December to July (cf.: 7). Scientific use files are available around 16 months after the assessment.

Type of data


Type of Study

Longitude survey: long-term study of the same sample

Data gathering method

Telephone interview (CATI)

Face-to-face interview (CAPI, PAPI)

Access to data

Access is permitted for the use of data in a scientific, non-profit context for the purpose of employment research only. Scientific use files and campus use files can be downloaded from an exchange server via a secure internet connection after a data distribution contract has been accepted.

Conditions of access

Signing a data distribution contract is required prior to obtaining the data (incl. description of data security concept). The data set is free of charge.

Subject to the correctness and completeness of the application, the data will be received about 2-3 weeks after the application.

anonymised microdata


Questionnaires/documentations/user guide/variables are available in German and English.


Data collection is ongoing since 2006. The following data units are included: • Individuals and households receiving the Unemployment Benefit II in 7/2006 (Sample I); • Individuals and households residing in Germany (Sample II); • Individuals and households receiving the Unemployment Benefit II in 7/2007 and who also did not receiving it in 7/2006 (Sample III, refreshment sample for sample I) ; • Individuals and households receiving the Unemployment Benefit II in 07/2008 but who did not receive it in 07/2006 and 07/2007 (Sample IV; refreshment sample 2); • Individuals and households receiving the Unemployment Benefit II in 07/2009 but who did not receive it in 07/2006, 07/2007 and 07/2008 (Sample V; refreshment sample 3). The number of cases is as follows: • Wave 1 (11/2006-07/2007): Sample I: 9,386 individuals (living in 6,804 households), Sample II: 9,568 individuals (living in 5,990 households). • Wave 2 (12/2007-07/2008): Sample I: 4.753 individuals (living in 3,491 households), Sample II: 6,392 individuals (living in 3,897 households), Sample III: 1,342 individuals (living in 1,041 households). • Wave 3 (12/2008-08/2009): Sample I: 4,913 individuals (living in 3,754 households), Sample II: 6,207 individuals (living in 3,901 households), Sample III: 898 individuals (living in 694 households), Sample IV: 1,421 individuals (living in 1,186 households). • Wave 4 (02/2010-09/2010): Sample I: 3,958 individuals (living in 2,815 households), Sample II: 5,016 individuals (living in 2,977 households), Sample III: 786 individuals (living in 563 households), Sample IV: 983 individuals (living in 745 households), Sample V: 1,025 individuals (living in 748 households). • Wave 5 (02/2011-10/2011): Sample I: 3,394 individuals (living in 2,382 households), Sample II:4,511 individuals (living in 2,680 households), Sample III: 653 individuals (living in 464 households), Sample IV: 822 individuals (living in 608 households), Sample V: 760 individuals (living in 517 households), Sample VI: 2,589 individuals (living in 1,510 households), Sample VII: 1,859 individuals (living in 1,321 households), Sample VIII: 1,019 individuals (living in 753 households).


proportional stratification of BIK-regions, disproportional stratification of socio-economic status

The ‘recipient sample’ is based on the Federal Employment Agency’s registers of Unemployment Benefit II recipients. From these registers, a clustered random sample of so-called ‘Bedarfsgemeinschaften’ was drawn. The sample of the general population (disproportionally stratified according to status) was drawn from a commercial database covering all addresses at which at least one private household resides ( 13).

national, NUTS-1

persons aged 15 years and older

representative of need communities (SGB II) and all German households with an overrepresentation of low-income households

The panel design of PASS enables the user to analyse work and employment histories with a focus on entries into, and exits from drawing benefits and their relation to individual events or social and labour market policy measures according to the Social Security Statute Book II (SGB II). In addition, it is also possible to analyse the pathways out of dependency intended by the SGB II and the extent to which the measures provided by the SGB II facilitate this reintegration into employment. Besides socio-demographic, subjective and benefit-related characteristics, a number of employment-related characteristics are assessed: status of (un)employment; mini-job; working hours; occupational status (detailed); occupation (ISCO-88 und KldB-92); ISCO-based measures of occupational status and prestige (ISEI, SIOPS, MPS, EGP, ESeC); income from employment (gross & net); employment biography with (un)employment episodes and periods of non-employment; start date of current employment; fixed-term employment; change of fixed-term status; supervisory function; other employment; detailed information on the employment search status and reservation wage as well as employment orientation (cf.

• Achatz, Juliane, & Trappmann, Mark. Befragung von Arbeitslosengeld-II-Beziehern: Wege aus der Grundsicherung. (IAB-Kurzbericht, 28/2009), Nürnberg, 8 S. Available via:
. • Bender, Stefan, Koch, Susanne, Mosthaf, Alexander, & Walwei, Ulrich. Erwerbsfähige Hilfebedürftige im SGB II: Aktivierung ist auch in der Krise sinnvoll. (IAB-Kurzbericht, 19/2009), Nürnberg, 8 S. Available via:
. • Gundert, Stefanie, & Hohendanner, Christian. Leiharbeit und befristete Beschäftigung: Soziale Teilhabe ist eine Frage von stabilen Jobs. (IAB-Kurzbericht, 04/2011), Nürnberg, 8 S. Available via:
. • Promberger, Markus, Wübbeke, Christina, & Zylowski, Anika. Arbeitslosengeld-II-Empfänger: Private Altersvorsorge fehlt, wo sie am nötigsten ist. IAB-Kurzbericht Nr. 15/2012. Nürnberg: Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung. Available via: • Trappmann, Mark; Christoph, Bernhard; Achatz, Juliane; Wenzig, Claudia (2009). PASS: a new panel study for labour market research. In: International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 30, No. 7, S. 765-770. Available via:


The data set includes internationally harmonised standards: • ISCO-88 (International Standard Classification of Occupation) • ISCED-97 (International Standard Classification of Education) • CASMIN (Comparative Analysis of Social Mobility in Industrial Nations) • EGP (Class scheme according to Erikson, Goldthorpe and Portocarrero), • ESeC (European Socio-economic Classification), • MPS (Magnitude-Prestige-Scale), • SIOPS/Treiman-Scale (Standard International Occupational Prestige Scale), • ISEI (International Socio-Economic Index), • WZ2003 (Classification of Economic Activities 2003) (cf.
: 189).

Possibility of linkage of PASS data with administrative data of the Federal Employment Agency and the Institute for Employment Research for those individuals who gave their consent is planned.

Data quality

Data checks are carried out by Institute for Applied Social Sciences (infas): structure checks, filter checks, plausibility checks.

The data editing of the first two waves was performed by the Institute for Employment Research (IAB). For wave 3, the Institut für Angewandte Sozialwissenschaft (infas), the new field institute of PASS took over this task. To ensure that this change in who edits the data would not result in a change in procedures and inconsistency in the data sets of the SUF, several precautions were taken (cf.
). For some variables, there were changes in the survey instruments across the waves. This particularly concerns the employment status variable, for which the instrument was changed entirely between waves 1 and 2. In order to simplify cross-wave analyses in such cases, for important indicators variables are generated which are harmonised across the waves. This currently concerns only two variables. However, this number can be expected to increase with the duration of the panel (
: 42).

The consistency of terminology between the different waves is ensured.


The Panel Labour Market and Social Security intends to create a new database which will allow for the analysis of social processes and the non-intended side-effects of labour market reforms (
). The dataset is based on a unique sample and is suited to answer many questions concerning work, productivity and the impact of institutional, welfare and regulatory regimes. The panel design enables the user to analyse work and (un)employment histories, as well as pathways into and out of dependency. For persons older than 65, however, a shortened version of the questionnaire is employed. In order to ensure that there are no systematically missing data for migrants, who are an important target group, the interviews are administered in German and also in the respective mother tongues of two important groups of migrants in Germany, namely in Turkish and Russian. Moreover, the interviews are administered in English, which is frequently spoken by persons of various nationalities. The Research Data Centre of the German Federal Employment Agency (BA) and the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) offers a consulting service and workshops for working with PASS data. Moreover, all questionnaires, documentations and other working tools are available in German and English.

  • The information about this dataset was compiled by the author:
  • Andreas Motel-Klingebiel
  • (see Partners)