Welcome to the SOEPcompanion!

SOEP-Core is THE centerpiece of the wide-ranging representative longitudinal study of private households located at the German Institute for Economic Research, DIW Berlin. SOEP-Core was started in 1984 and in 1990—just after German reunification—we enlarged the area covered by the SOEP study by adding a representative sample from East Germany. This feature makes the SOEP unique among other household panel surveys worldwide. Each year since 1984, around 15,000 households and about 30,000 individuals have been surveyed by the SOEP’s fieldwork organization, Kantar Public Germany. The data provide information on every member of every household taking part in the survey. Respondents include Germans living in the states of both the former East and West Germany, foreign citizens residing in Germany, recent immigrants, and a new sample of refugees added in 2016. Some of the many topics include household composition, education, occupational biographies, employment, earnings, health, and satisfaction indicators.

The SOEPcompanion provides data users with the content of the currently released SOEP-Core data (v34) and will introduce into different versions of SOEP-Core data structures. It will also provide data users with a lot of retrievals in Stata as well as multiple instructions on how to use our various documentation services. This collection of information in the SOEPcompanion is intended to become a yearly updated main reference guide, and a practical companion in basic understanding and implementation of the SOEP.

We know that starting to use any new dataset, it is a difficult challenge and this is especially true given the complexity of the panel data. We hope however that this introduction will help. We always welcome any feedback, or information on ways that we can improve this documentation.

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