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The Effects of Unemployment on Various Indicators of Well-being

An interdisciplinary study on time-varying effects, adaptation, and coping strategies with high-resolution real-time data.

Funded by: German Research Foundation (DFG)

Project Duration: 01.01.2018 - 30.06.2024

Within the research project "Job Search and Quality of Life", a survey of German job-seeking employees was conducted from November 2017 to February 2021. The main objective of the project is to investigate the effects of changes in working life on the quality of life after having registered as job-seeking. Using an innovative survey method via a smartphone app, numerous characteristics about the current health situation and the individual well-being of the participants were collected. The results of this survey were incorporated into the German Job Search Panel (GJSP) as a new data product.

The study is a joint project of the IAB and Freie Universität Berlin and is partly funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).


In order to better understand the relationship between quality of life, work and unemployment, researchers from different disciplines have joined forces and developed this study. The study is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and went through an extensive review process. In this process, the project was assessed by independent peer reviewers, discussed by a panel of experts, and subjected to a final quality assessment. At each stage of this process, the scientific value of the project was considered to be very high. The project costs were deemed to be reasonable. The independent reviewers are renowned international researchers in the fields of economics and psychology. Only a small number of projects submitted to the DFG receive funding

German Job Search Panel

Working life is one of the most important areas of life. Changes in this area often have a major impact on the individually perceived quality of life. The reasons why a job loss has such an effect on the well-being of employees go far beyond the changes in the material living conditions. To better investigate these causes, the effects of changes in working life on individual quality of life are surveyed in the German Job Search Panel. This longitudinal data set documents the development of various health and well-being indicators at the individual level over several months. The data set is based on an innovative survey of job seekers in Germany before and after the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. With its unique data structure, the German Job Search Panel paints a comprehensive picture of personal experiences in a rapidly changing environment and enables the development of evidence-based policy recommendations that focus on the well-being of working people.

Data collection

For the survey, the IAB obtained contact data (name, address and telephone number) from the data files of the German Federal Employment Agency. Specifically, job-seeking registrations were identified. Prior to the survey, respondents received a written invitation to the study, informing them about the research project and its procedure. The letter included a privacy statement and the contact addresses of the participating institutions and data protection officers. After having agreed to participate, the respondents were then able to register for the survey. The survey was conducted using an innovative smartphone app developed by the Happiness Research Organization.

In addition to the contact data, the IAB provided a system-free identification number to the survey institute. After the survey, all personal data was deleted. The identification number was returned to the IAB together with the survey data. If respondents agreed to have their survey data added to other data sets, the survey data were linked to administrative data of the IAB and the IAB Establishment Panel. This feed enables optimal use of the information and opens up a wide range of opportunities for empirical analysis.

Data protection

Compliance with data protection regulations is strictly controlled by the IAB, Freie Universität Berlin and the Happiness Research Organisation. All results are presented exclusively in anonymized form, i.e. without names and addresses. Any disclosure of data to third parties that would allow the identification of individuals is excluded. Respondents are guaranteed that ...

  • names and addresses will not be merged with interview data, so that no one will know which answers were given by whom;
  • names and addresses are not passed on to third parties;
  • no individual data that allows identification of a person will be passed on to third parties;
  • the data is exclusively used for research purposes.

Participation in the study was entirely voluntary. The participants did not suffer any disadvantages, regardless of whether they decided to participate or not.

Research Seminar in Economics