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The IAB Employment Samples (IABS)

The IAB Employment Samples (IABS) contain information on the employment history of employees liable to social security on a daily basis.

The IABS Database

IABS data originate from two different data sources:

  • Notifications of employment to social security bodies
  • Data on receipt of unemployment benefits, unemployment assistance and maintenance allowance drawn from data of the Federal Employment Agency.

IABS Versions

Two different versions of the IABS are provided.

1. Scientific use files

IABS data are available in the form of factually anonymous scientific use files (SUF). These are delivered via the Central Archive for Empirical Social Research in Cologne to researchers for analyses outside of the FDZ. Users have a choice of two files: the basic IABS file and the regional IABS file, the latter being characterised by its deep regional structure, yet less distinctive content:

  • Basic file: The emphasis of the basic file lies on differentiated information on professions, industries and corporate workforce. Regional differentiation, however, is restricted to West and East Germany. The latest version of the IABS basic file covers the period from 1975 to 1995.
  • Regional file: Unlike the basic file, the main emphasis of the regional file is on regional information. Information on professions and industries is provided in rough form only, while information on workforce is disregarded entirely. The latest version of the regional file contains information for the years from 1975 to 2004.

The basic file 1975-1995 and the regional file 1975-1997 are available at the Central Archive for Empirical Social Research at the University of Cologne (ZA) (only in German). The update of the regional file 1975-2004 is being managed and supplied by the Research Data Centre (FDZ) of the Federal Employment Agency (BA) at the Institute for Employment Research (IAB). For further details please select data access.

2. Weakly Anonymous Version

The 'weakly' anonymous version of the IABS covers the years between 1975 and 2004 and comprises the full range of characteristics, i.e. detailed information on both regions and content.

The weakly anonymous IABS file is available through on-site use and following controlled remote data access.

Details on the differences between the IABS versions available are given under outline.




New data set is now available:

The Sample of Integrated Labour Market Biographies (Stichprobe der Integrierten Arbeitsmarktbiografien - SIAB) replaces the IAB Employment Sample (IABS) and the Integrated Employment Biographies Sample (IEBS). The SIAB combines the advantages of the IABS – a long observation period– with the advantages of the IEBS in terms of complete employment biographies.
Further information on SIAB