Soziale Ungleichheit in Deutschland in der Längsschnittperspektive. Befunde zur Armutsproblematik auf Basis des Sozio-oekonomischen Panels (SOEP)

Marco Giesselmann and Jan Goebel


In this article, we discuss and analyse poverty in Germany from a longitudinal perspective. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), we first show that the general poverty rate in Germany has constantly increased since the late 1990s. Shifting to a life-course perspective, we show that not only socio-structural characteristics have a strong impact on the poverty risk, but also critical life-events. While focusing on dynamics of poverty within individual life-courses, it appears that incidents like formation of a 'new household, birth of a child and separation from partner are associated with an immediate increase of the poverty risk. The event of becoming unemployed stands particularly out. Comparing longitudinal and fixed-effects approaches on the one hand with simple cross-sectional procedures on the other, our analyses finally emphasises that cross-sectional analyses are not sufficient to fully understand or to explain poverty. Therefore, our study can be interpreted as a claim to make stronger use of the benefits of longitudinal data in the context of poverty research.

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The Journal is devoted to the fundamental issues of empirical and normative social theory, and is directed at social scientists and social philosophers who combine commitment to political and moral enlightenment with argumentative rigour and conceptual clarity. Published articles develop social theorizing in connection with analytical philosophy and philosophy of science.