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Education, Training, and Occupation: Life Courses of the 1964 and 1971 Birth Cohorts in West Germany

This project was concerned with the impact of the changes in the 1980s and 1990s on young people's educational and work histories. Our research interests lay in understanding the consequences of: educational expansion, a changing occupational structure and labor demand, demographic discontinuity, and declining labor market conditions for outcomes in social and gender stratification. The project attempted to find out to what extent the transitions from education to training and work still represent the so-called "normal biography." We were also interested in how successful the prevailing social institutions and policies have been in ensuring high levels of qualifications and their adequate use in occupational activity.

Putting those birth cohorts in the context of the previous life history studies enabled us to reconstruct the collective transition experiences between education, training, and employment until most recently. In doing so, we gained empirical access to the changing institutional linkages between the school and training systems as well as between the labor market and occupational structure. Moreover, we could examine controversial hypotheses about the lengthening and fragmentation of this transition phase and about increasing polarization of the opportunities of skill acquisition and early occupational careers.

The life history data collected by the Center was linked with longitudinal data from official statistics by finding the records of our respondents in the Beschäftigtenstatistik processed at the IAB. This linkage enabled us to conduct detailed investigations on the relationships between firm characteristics, firm dynamics, and individual working careers. The combination of survey data on life histories with respondents' records in officially process-produced register data allowed us to address once again, and with more suitable data, the issue of the quality and reliability of retrospective information.

In 1998 and 1999, we interviewed 2,911 respondents born in 1964 or 1971, including (German-speaking) foreigners for the first time in a life history study. The 1964 birth cohort was the largest one ever born in West Germany and, therefore, it is presumed that these individuals experienced unprecedented intra-cohort competition within the educational and occupational system. The 1971 birth cohort allows a direct comparison of labor market entries in East and West Germany, because it is the youngest cohort that was surveyed in the former East Germany (in 1996). Also it is interesting to note that people of the birth cohorts 1964 and 1971 who live in West Germany represent cohorts that have grown in numbers over time because of an extensive immigration.

Publications

Hillmert, S. (2002). Edition von Lebensverlaufsdaten: Zur Relevanz einer systematischen Einzelfallbearbeitung bei standardsierten Befragungen. ZUMA-Nachrichten, 51 (26), pp. 120-140. (überarbeitete Fassung des Arbeitspapiers Nr. 4)

Hillmert, S. (2002). Stabilität und Wandel des "deutschen Modells": Lebensverläufe im Übergang zwischen Schule und Beruf. In M. Wingens & R. Sackmann (Eds.), Bildung und Beruf. Ausbildung und berufsstruktureller Wandel in der Wissensgesellschaft. Weinheim: Juventa.

Corsten, M., & Hillmert, S. (2001). Qualifikation, Berufseinstieg und Arbeitsmarktverhalten unter Bedingungen erhöhter Konkurrenz: Was prägt Bildungs- und Erwerbsverläufe in den achtziger und neunziger Jahren? Arbeitsbericht des Projekts Ausbildungs- und Berufsverläufe der Geburtskohorten 1964 und 1971 in Westdeutschland. Berlin: Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung.

Hillmert, S. (2001). Kohortendynamik und Konkurrenz an den zwei Schwellen des dualen Ausbildungssystems: Übergänge zwischen Schule und Arbeitsmarkt im Kontext ökonomischen und demographischen Wandels. Arbeitsbericht des Projekts Ausbildungs- und Berufsverläufe der Geburtskohorten 1964 und 1971 in Westdeutschland. Berlin: Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung.

Jacob, M. (2001). Ausmaß und Strukturen von Mehrfachausbildungen: Eine Analyse der Ausbildungswege in den achtziger und neunziger Jahren. Arbeitsbericht des Projekts Ausbildungs- und Berufsverläufe der Geburtskohorten 1964 und 1971 in Westdeutschland. Berlin: Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung.

Solga, H., & Trappe, H. (2000). Die duale Ausbildung: Ambivalenzen veränderter Übergangsbiographien. Zeitschrift für Berufs- und Wirtschaftspädagogik, 96 (2), 244-260.

Technical Report

Geboren 1964 und 1971 | Hillmert und Mayer

Hillmert, S. , & Mayer, K. U. (2004). Geboren 1964 und 1971. Neuere Untersuchungen zu Ausbildungs- und Berufschancen in Westdeutschland. Wiesbaden: VS - Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.

Project Team

Steffen Hillmert
Marita Jacob
Karl Ulrich Mayer
Antje Mertens
Maike Reimer
Holger Seibert
Heike Trappe

in collaboration with
Stefan Bender and Hans Dietrich (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung IAB der Bundesanstalt für Arbeit, Nürnberg)

Dissertation Projects

Patchwork or Career? Causes and Consequences of Multiple Educational Episodes (Marita Jacob)

Ethnic Origin and Occupational Placement (Holger Seibert)