Secondary Analyses of Precarious Employment Biographies (Subproject)

This subproject investigates institutional changes in Germany’s welfare state model, particularly the reform of the interface between the labor market and social policies that were initiated through the so-called "Hartz reforms" of the 2000s. Although the new SGB II benefits system [available to the unemployed under Germany’s Social Security Code] provides basic financial security for job-seekers and aims above all for participation through "reintegration in work" as rapidly as possible, it also includes to a considerable extent employed and non-employed persons, in addition to the unemployed and their families.

The subproject is part of the work package "Participation and Basic Security – SGB II as a Benefits System and Life Situation" in the joint project on "Socio-Economic Development in Germany". This reporting on developments in social economics has been ongoing since 2000. The research group is coordinated by the Sociological Research Institute (SOFI) in Göttingen and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as a project in the humanities and social sciences. The project is divided into sequential reporting phases, each lasting several years. At the end of each phase, a report on socio-economic development in Germany is presented (in 2005, Work and Ways of Life, and in 2011, Changing Forms of Participation). Since the fall of 2013, a newly formed research group has been working on the third report on socio-economic development.

The Hamburg Institute for Social Research (HIS), in collaboration with the Sociological Research Institute in Göttingen (SOFI), the Research Data Centre (FDZ-IAB), and the Federal Employment Agency (BA) in the Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB) [Institute for Employment Research of the Federal Employment Agency] is involved in Work Package 12, "Participation and Basic Security – SGB II as Benefits System and Life Situation".

The secondary analyses carried out at HIS deal with subjective assessments of the unemployed and the precariously employed with respect to their life situations, employment histories, and opportunities for participation in work on the margins of SGB II. The analyses investigate what impact receiving financial assistance for shorter or longer episodes has on beneficiaries’ employment biographies and work orientation as well as on their responses to job-seeker activation measures and their expectations regarding participation in the world of work. Further analyses will address the changes in work distribution within families due to new employment situations and the pressure on beneficiaries resulting from activation measures.

Secondary analyses will be based on material from the qualitative panel study, "Precarious Employment Biographies", which was part of an IAB project, "Gesellschaftliche Teilhabe im Spannungsfeld von Langzeitarbeitslosigkeit, Erwerbsintegration und öffentlich geförderter Beschäftigung" [Social Participation in the Tensions between Long-term Unemployment, Workforce Integration, and Publicly Funded Employment] carried out from 2006 to 2012 on behalf of the IAB at the Hamburg Institute for Social Research.

(Last modified October 2014)