Springe direkt zu Inhalt

Dr. Tobias Wolf

Tobias Wolf, M.Sc.

Office hours

by arrangement

Summer semester 2016

  • Labour market and social policy (Master level)
    Seminar (with C. Hetschko, D. Nachtigall, M. Preuss and R. Schöb)

Winter semester 2015/16

  • “Preparation for examination” (Bachelor level)
  • Normative Behavioural Economics (Master level)
    Seminar (with C. Hetschko, D. Nachtigall and R. Schöb)

Winter semester 2014/15

  • Behavioural Public Economics (Master level)
    Seminar (with C. Hetschko, M. Preuß and R. Schöb)

Summer semester 2014

  • Labour markets and subjective well-being (Bachelor level)
    Seminar (with C. Hetschko and M. Preuß)

Summer semester 2013

  • Social Policy (Master level)
    Exercise class
  • Markets & Moral (Master level)
    Seminar (with C. Hetschko and R. Schöb)
  • Employment, Labour Market and Well-being
  • Economic inequality
  • Economic policy
  • Behavioural Economics

Workshop and Conference Contributions (selected)


[1] Essays on the economics of well-being, Dissertation: Freie Universität Berlin, 2021.

Journal articles

[2] Income support, employment transitions and well-being (with C. Hetschko and R. Schöb), Labour Economics, 66, 2020.

[1] Die Einkommenssituation und -Entwicklung Verwitweter in Deutschland (with H. Engstler and A. Motel-Klingebiel), Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, 80(4), 2011, S. 77-102 (in German, English abstract).

Working papers

[4] Welfare while working: How does the life satisfaction approach help to explain job search behavior?, School of Business & Economics Discussion Paper, Freie Universität Berlin, No. 2020/14.

This paper examines the role of life satisfaction in the labor market behavior of workers receiving welfare benefits while working. Welfare stigma and other hard-to-observe factors may affect outcomes as on-the-job search and the duration until leaving welfare status. We utilize life satisfaction to track such factors. The German PASS-ADIAB dataset combines administrative process data with individual survey data offering a rich database that allows conditioning on changes in household income, time-stable individual traits, employment biographies and local labor market effects. Given a broad set of further covariates, we find that life satisfaction of in-work benefit recipients is negatively associated with job search, whereas the duration until the exit from welfare is hardly affected. Focusing on heterogeneity among workers suggests that life satisfactions’ role for choice depends on the institutional setting, rendering marginally employed workers specifically prone to life satisfaction.

[3] Experienced Well-Being and Labor Market Status: The Role of Pleasure and Meaning (with M. Metzing & R. Lucas), SOEPpapers, DIW Berlin, 2019, No. 1043.

This paper examines experienced well-being of employed and unemployed workers. We use the survey-adapted day reconstruction method (DRM) of the Innovation Sample of the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP-IS) to analyze the role of the employment status for well-being, incorporating complete time use. Summarizing the average share of pleasurable minutes, we generate the P-index. We show that - in contrast to evaluative life satisfaction - the average unemployed experiences more pleasurable minutes due to the absence of working episodes. Hence, we examine working episodes in depth. While working is among the activities with the highest propensities for an unpleasant experience, it is also among the most meaningful activities. We show that meaning is a central non-monetary determinant for a pleasurable work episode and find that pleasure during work and job satisfaction in general have the same association with meaning.

[2] Categorizing open answers in the DRM module of SOEP-IS, SOEP Survey Papers: Series D - Variable Description and Coding, DIW Berlin, 2018, No. 535.

This paper documents the categorization of open answers in the diaries of the Day Reconstruction Method (DRM) module of the SOEP Innovation Sample (SOEP-IS) for employed and unemployed workers. Respondents of the module reported either 1 out of 23/25 listed activities or a self-selected description of an activity during the previous day. By assigning the open answers either to the initially listed categories and by defining new categories for a subset of open answers enriches SOEP–IS DRM by more than 1,700 additional categorized episodes for quantitative analysis.

[1] Income Support, (Un-)Employment and Well-Being (with C. Hetschko & R. Schöb), School of Business & Economics Discussion Paper, Freie Universität Berlin, No. 2016/15.

Using specific panel data of German welfare benefit recipients, we investigate the non-pecuniary life satisfaction effects of in-work benefits. Our empirical strategy combines difference-in-difference designs with synthetic control groups to analyze transitions of workers between unemployment, regular employment and employment accompanied by welfare receipt. Working makes people generally better off than being unemployed, but employed welfare recipients do not reach the life satisfaction level of regular employees. This implies that welfare receipt entails non-compliance with the norm to make one’s own living. Our findings allow us to draw cautious conclusions on employment subsidies paid as welfare benefits.

Also available as CESifo Working Paper No. 6016, 2016.

Policy papers

[1] Die soziale und wirtschaftliche Situation der Rechtsreferendar*innen in Berlin: Auswertung der Online-Umfrage 2014 (in German), Paper in behalf of  the employee committee ("Personalrat") of Berlin articled clerks, 2014, Berlin.

Research Seminar in Economics