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Microdata and Method Development

The Microdata and Methodology Development Research Group pools the expertise for microdata analysis from the Institute's fields of competence and supports them in methodological issues.

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Microdata originate from surveys and other statistical surveys that depict subjective and objective information of individual units such as persons, households or firms. The data enable application-oriented and policy-advisory analyses because they provide a representative picture of society. In addition to descriptive evaluations of, for example, income distribution, educational structure and corporate structures, microdata can also be used to identify correlations between variables. IW researchers use microdata in the areas of the labor market, education, public budgets and distribution, demographics, financial and real estate markets, and energy.

The IW has gained much experience in analyzing German and international microdata sets. Among them, for example, are the following:

  •     Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP)
  •     Microcensus
  •     Survey of Income and Consumption (EVS)
  •     General Population Survey of the Social Sciences (ALLBUS)
  •     Official Company Data for Germany (AFiD)
  •     Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)
  •     European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC)
  •     Labor Force Survey (LFS)
  •     Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS)
  •     International Social Survey Programme (ISSP)

In addition to its expertise in data analysis and econometric evaluation procedures, the Microdata and Methodology Development Research Group combines expertise in the field of simulation and forecasting models and supports the cross-institutional integration and further development of microdata-based models:

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Tax, Levy and Transfer Microsimulation Model (STATS).

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IW Population Forecast

The IW population forecast is a stochastic population forecast. Unlike the projections of official statistics, the uncertainty about future development is not represented by scenarios. Instead, forecast intervals depict the range of possible development. The IW population forecast covers the period up to 2035, and the record immigration of 2015 is included in the calculations of the future population level. The forecast thus differs from the 13th Coordinated Population Projection of the Federal Statistical Office not only in terms of methodology, but also in terms of its timeliness. (Contact: Philipp Deschermeier)

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Christina Anger

Dr. Christina Anger

Head of the Research Group Microdata and Method Development

Tel: +49 221 4981-718
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Judith Niehues

Dr. Judith Niehues

Head of Micro Data and Distribution Research Unit

Tel: +49 221 4981-768
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All Article

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The difficulties of universal redistribution in times of welfare chauvinism
Matthias Diermeier / Judith Niehues in LSE-Blog Contribution 17. June 2022

The difficulties of universal redistribution in times of welfare chauvinism

Previous studies have found substantial support across Europe for the creation of a universal basic income system. Yet as Matthias Diermeier and Judith Niehues explain, there is also widespread support for restricting the access of immigrants to state benefits. Drawing on new research, they assess how these two perspectives shape wider attitudes toward welfare.


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a program specific analysis of welfare preferences
External Publication 17. June 2022

Towards a nuanced understanding of anti-immigration sentiment in the welfare state: a program specific analysis of welfare preferences

Matthias Diermeier / Judith Niehues in Rationality and Society

The literature on immigration and the welfare state describes a trade-off between immigration and welfare support. We argue for a more nuanced view of welfare chauvinism that accounts for different motivational channels, specific welfare programs and particular population subgroups.


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Inequality and Unemployment in Germany
External Publication 8. June 2022

Perception and Reality: Inequality and Unemployment in Germany

Michael Hüther / Judith Niehues

Data for the time before the corona pandemic reveal a largely positive picture of the economic and social development in Germany. Most individuals perceived their own situation as very positive, but their views on society are rather pessimistic and overly critical.


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A Focus on the Middle Class - Demarcation, Development and Mobility
IW-Trends No. 2 16. May 2022

A Focus on the Middle Class - Demarcation, Development and Mobility

Judith Niehues / Maximilian Stockhausen

In 2018, roughly every second German was a member of the middle class as measured by income, a proportion which has barely changed for more than a decade. However, the lower income threshold of this middle-income group has risen - an indication of increased prosperity.


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Acceptance of Parliamentary Procedures in the Light of Individual Problem Perception
IW-Trends No. 3 15. September 2021

Acceptance of Parliamentary Procedures in the Light of Individual Problem Perception

Matthias Diermeier / Judith Niehues

A lively democracy thrives on the struggle between different interest groups for majority opinion on specific issues. Though the institutionalised process of balancing interests and hearing opposing points of view takes time, acceptance of these parliamentary procedures is essential for the functioning of our pluralistic democracy.