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Project for Documentation and Preparation of the German Life History Study

Projektleitung
Prof. Dr. Karl Ulrich Mayer
Mitarbeiter/innen
Laufzeit
2010-2014

The Project for Documentation and Preparation of the German Life History Study (GLHS) at the WZB is entrusted with the tasks of documenting the final study of the GHLS on “Work, Home, and Family in the Mobile Society” (LV-Panel 71), documenting literature using GHLS data and backing up survey data and material. Further it aims to establish a website providing information on other research projects using GHLS data and relevant literature. It is also planned to create an overall information system which is based on the GHLS.

The German Life History Study led by Prof. Karl Ulrich Mayer began in 1980 and in 2005 the final sample was interviewed. It provides extremely detailed retrospective life course information for Germans born between 1919 and 1971. Thus, the GHLS has become one of the major databases for comparative studies of social conditions before, during, and after the division of Germany. A major focus of the GLHS is on social change in patterns of education and training, labor market entry, processes of family formation, and – since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 – how the transformation of East German society has affected individual life courses.

The various studies address issues such as:

  • How do socio-economic status, historical conditions and events in the early life course affect later life chances and outcomes?
  • How much inter- and intra-generational mobility can we observe in East and West Germany?
  • To what extent do economic, social, and cultural forces explain changes in life course patterns?
  • How do particular historical conditions and institutional settings impact on the life course?
  • How do changes in individual behavior impact on institutional settings and modify the social structure?

The GHLS comprises about 8500 West Germans and more than 2900 Germans who were resident in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in 1990. The unique data collection including the various studies of the GLHS was carefully evaluated against official statistics (census and micro-census) to ensure that they are representative of their respective populations. The GLHS applies the survey method of retrospective interviews, conducted both on the telephone and/or face-to-face depending on the respective study. Particular emphasis was placed on gaining a thorough, month-by-month account of respondents’ educational, occupational, family, and residential histories. The data can be received from the Central Archive for Empirical Social Research.

The studies were carried out at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. More information on the GLHS in general and on the individual studies will soon be available on the their website. For an overview we can present some basic information:

 

Study Title: Early Careers and Starting a Family: Life Courses of the 1971 Birth Cohorts in East and West Germany

Short Title: LV-Panel 71

Cohorts: 1971

Study’s Number in the Central Archive for Empirical Social Research: ZA5099

 

Study Title: Education, Training, and Occupation: Life Courses of the 1964 and 1971 Birth Cohorts in West Germany

Short Title: LV-West 64/71

Cohorts: 1964, 1971

Study’s Number in the Central Archive for Empirical Social Research: ZA3927

 

Study Title: East German Life Courses After Unification

Short Title: LV-Ost 71

Cohorts: 1971

Study’s Number in the Central Archive for Empirical Social Research: ZA3926

 

Study Title: East German Life Courses After Unification

Short Title: LV-Ost Panel

Cohorts: 1929-31, 1939-41, 1951-53, 1959-61

Study’s Number in the Central Archive for Empirical Social Research: ZA3925

 

Study Title: Life Courses and Historical Change in the German Democratic Republic

Short Title: LV-DDR

Cohorts: 1929-31, 1939-41, 1951-53, 1959-61

Study’s Number in the Central Archive for Empirical Social Research: ZA2644

 

Study Title: Career Entry in the Labor Market Crisis

Short Title: LV-West III

Cohorts: 1954-56, 1959-61

Study’s Number in the Central Archive for Empirical Social Research: ZA2648

 

Study Title: The Between-Wars Generation and the Transition to Retirement: Telephone Survey

Short Title: LV-West II T

Cohorts: 1919-21

Study’s Number in the Central Archive for Empirical Social Research: ZA2647

 

Study Title: The Between-Wars Generation and the Transition to Retirement: Face-to-Face Survey

Short Title: LV-West II A

Cohorts: 1919-21

Study’s Number in the Central Archive for Empirical Social Research: ZA2646

 

Study Title: Life Course and Welfare Development

Short Title: LV-West I

Cohorts: 1929-31, 1939-41, 1949-51

Study’s Number in the Central Archive for Empirical Social Research: ZA2645