On this page we summarize recent empirical findings in a clear and accessible style. We provide short-summaries and reports highlighting the main innovations and results of papers accepted by peer-reviewed journals.

We highly welcome submissions of short-summaries and reports of your research to this page. Submissions can be made by both members and non-members of the Akademie (for more information: How to submit a short-report).

Employment trajectories in heterogeneous regions:
Evidence from Germany

Matthias Dütsch, Franziska Ganesch, Olaf Struck
(Corresponding author:


Motivation: Recent life course research accentuates that employment trajectories are governed by individual determinants. However, individuals’ actions are always embedded within a particular framework. For this reason, we pay particular attention to structural effects and extend current life course research by exploring how regional determinants impact employment trajectories.

 Research question: To what extent do regional characteristics influence employment trajectories? Do regional factors diversely affect the employment careers of different sociodemographic groups?

 Method: We used a German linked employer–employee dataset (LIAB) that was merged with data on regional characteristics for 96 planning regions. To assess determinants of job stability, transitions to unemployment, and transitions to a new job, we estimate proportional hazard models.

Results and conclusions: Our results show that there are considerable regional heterogeneities regarding population density and the amount of human capital endowment, both of which influence working careers differently. Regional agglomeration predominantly offers opportunities regarding employment trajectories, while regional human capital accumulation increases employment risks. Additionally, our findings indicate that group-specific inequalities regarding employment careers can be weakened or even strengthened by regional frame conditions.

More details can be found in the published paper: Dütsch, Matthias, Franziska Ganesch, Olaf Struck (2019): Employment trajectories in heterogeneous regions: Evidence from Germany, Advances in Life Course Research 40: 43-84, DOI:

Attitudes Towards Minorities in Times of High Immigration: A Panel Study Among Young Adults in Germany

Hannes Weber (
February 2019

  • Motivation: Does more migration lead to more xenophobia? This is a controversial debate both in the social sciences as well as in the general public that is unresolved so far. Previous findings largely relied on cross-sectional and highly aggregated data.
  • Research question: Do attitudes towards Germany’s largest minority groups change in times of higher (or lower) immigration, and how is this related to ethnic diversity in the city or neighbourhood the respondents live in?
  • Method: We follow young adults in Germany over a period of 5 years, combining data from the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Survey in Four European Countries (CILS4EU) with geo-coded information on respondents’ place of residence as well as the level of immigration and media salience on the topic around the interview dates.
  • Results and conclusions: When interviewed during months of higher immigration, respondents expressed more negative views on minorities, especially during 2015. Also, strong immigration into the neighbourhood is associated with more prejudice towards migrants. By contrast, on the more aggregated level of cities/counties, greater opportunities for interethnic contact lead to lower levels of prejudice.

Figure 1: The effect from migration on attitudes towards minorities on three geographic levels (standardized regression coefficients from random-effects models)

More details can be found in the published paper: Weber, H. (2018). Attitudes Towards Minorities in Times of High Immigration: A Panel Study Among Young Adults in Germany. European Sociological Review, DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcy050

Bringing urban space back in: A multilevel analysis of environmental inequality in Germany

Tobias Rüttenauer (
November 2018

Motivation: In Germany, we find a relatively large correlation between the percentage of foreigners and the amount of industrial air pollution. However, this correlation varies considerably between German cities.

Figure 1. Spatial distribution of air pollution and % foreigners.Research question: How can we explain this variation in environmental inequality between the cities? According to theories of selective siting and selective migration, environmental inequality should increase with 1) residential segregation, 2) economic inequality, and 3) political efficacy of the majority group. However, previous results and descriptive inspection (Figure 1) point towards the importance of 4) employment opportunities in industry, and 5) the geographic centrality of industrial facilities.

Method: The study combines 2011 German census data (N=9,061) with pollution estimates of the E-PRTR. I use city-fixed effects multilevel models, where cross-level interactions show how the correlation between % foreigners and air pollution changes with city-level characteristics.

Figure 2. The coefficients indicate how city-level characteristics are associated with the correlation between % foreingers and industrial air pollution.

Results and Discussion: The results reveal that the city-level predictors derived from the standard strand of theoretical reasoning do a rather poor job of explaining the varying level of environmental inequality between German cities. In contrast, facility centrality has a highly significant, robust, and positive effect, meaning that the level of environmental inequality is high if facilities are centrally located within the urban space.

More details can be found in the published paper: Rüttenauer, T. (2018). Bringing urban space back in: A multilevel analysis of environmental inequality in Germany. Urban Studies.

Public Child-Care Expansion and Changing Gender Ideologies of Parents in Germany

Gundula Zoch, Pia S. Schober
(Corresponding author:
July 2018

  • Motivation: Previous longitudinal studies provide evidence that the formation of gender ideologies is not completed in early adolescence but remains subject to the later influence of life course events. However, little evidence exists on whether also family policy reforms may alter gender ideologies in the short term.

  • Research question: By focusing on a major expansion of public childcare for children younger than 3 in Germany, we investigate the short-term impact of this family policy change on individual-level gender ideologies among fathers and mothers in East and West Germany, respectively.
  • Method: We link longitudinal data on gender ideologies toward maternal employment from the German Family Panel pairfam (2008 to 2015) with administrative records on county-level child-care provision for those aged younger than 3 years and other structural regional differences in labour-market conditions. The analysis applies fixed effects panel models for separate subsamples of East and West German mothers and fathers.
  • Results and conclusions: The child-care expansion seems to be modestly associated with changes toward less-traditional gender ideologies only among mothers in West Germany and mostly among mothers without a college degree. In East Germany, results suggest more traditional gender ideologies among mothers without a college degree as the child-care reform unfolded. For fathers we do not find statistically significant associations. The results provide evidence that policy reforms may slightly alter gender ideologies also in the short-term.

More information can be found in the published paper: Zoch, Gundula & Schober, Pia. S. (2018): Public Child-Care Expansion and Changing Gender Ideologies of Parents in Germany. Journal of Marriage and Family 80(4): 1020-1039, DOI: 10.1111/jmf.12486

Closed Doors Everywhere? A Meta-Analysis of Field Experiments on Ethnic Discrimination in Rental Housing Markets

Katrin Auspurg, Andreas Schneck, and Thomas Hinz
(Corresponding author:
July 2018

  • Motivation: Discrimination is long seen as a meaningful factor for ethnic inequalities on rental housing markets. Yet empirically, the extent of discrimination is still debatable. Meta-Analyses enable a comprehensive review of the existing literature and point to reached conclusions and open questions.
  • Research questions: (1) Are effect sizes inflated by publication bias? (2) Have there been changes in the level of discrimination over time? (3) Does the amount of discrimination vary with the amount of information applicants disclose on their social status (statistical discrimination)?
  • Methods: Quantitative meta-analysis of field experiments (in person audits and correspondence tests) that were run over the last four decades in the United States, Canada and Europe (N = 71).

  • Results and Discussion: Nearly all experiments document the occurrence of ethnic discrimination. Effect sizes are inflated by publication bias, but there is still substantial evidence left once the bias is removed. The analysis reveals a consistent decline in the extent of discrimination over time, from moderate levels of discrimination in the 1970s and 1980s, up to only small but still statistically significant levels in the 1990s and 2000s. A significant part of the discriminatory behaviour can be attributed to missing information about the social status of applicants, which supports theories on statistical discrimination.

More details can be found in the published paper (open access): Katrin Auspurg, Andreas Schneck & Thomas Hinz (2018) Closed doors everywhere? A meta-analysis of field experiments on ethnic discrimination in rental housing markets, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

Mass Media and Concerns about Immigration in Germany in the 21st Century: Individual-Level Evidence over 15 Years

Christian S. Czymara and Stephan Dochow
(Corresponding author:
(July 2018)

  • Motivation: Immigration is one of the most dominating issues in political discourses in Europe at the moment. We investigate whether, and how much, actual mass media coverage of immigration related topics affect individual attitudes by combining a quantitative content analysis of German newspaper articles with survey data from the Socio-Economic Panel.
  • Research question: (i) Does media reporting about immigration issues increase concerns about immigration? (ii) Who is particularly prone to such media effects?
  • Method: In total, our data covers 25,000 persons and 15 years (2001 to 2015). We use panel fixed effects models to explain concerns by the individual level of media salience (measured as the number of newspaper articles about immigration issues published before each interview). The figure shows descriptive trends of media salience and immigration concerns.
  • Results & conclusion: We find a substantive and stable positive effect of media salience. Deeper investigations reveal that this effect is most potent for individuals living in areas with lower share of foreigners and for those with lower education or conservative ideology, stressing the importance of individual receptiveness. We conclude that adding discursive aspects to the canonical group threat-paradigm is theoretically and empirically important to explain dynamics in threat perceptions. Because methods for structuring large text corpora are increasingly available, we look optimistically to future research in this respect.

Further information in the published paper: Czymara, Christian S. and Dochow, Stephan. 2018. “Mass Media and Concerns about Immigration in Germany in the 21st Century: Individual-Level Evidence over 15 Years” European Sociological Review.

Rules, Relations, and Work

Vincent J. Roscigno, Carsten Sauer, Peter Valet
(Corresponding author:
July 2018

  • Motivation: Bureaucracy and social relations have been core foci in the development of sociology of work, stratification, and organizational research. Theoretical conceptions are, however, often ambiguous regarding what is most meaningful for workers and workplaces. Bureaucratic rules are either considered meaningful by providing predictability or problematic, owing to assaults on autonomy. Notwithstanding that proximate social relations are considered fundamental in ethnographic, resistance, and justice accounts, these literatures have paid little attention to the interpenetrating, possibly mutually constitutive nature of structure and interaction.
  • Research questions: (1) Are bureaucratic structure and rules or workplace social relations more meaningful for workers and their workplaces? (2) Are there conditional associations? (3) Do effects vary by status groups?
  • Method: We draw from survey data on approximately 2,500 German workers of varying statuses and across a wide array of heterogeneous workplaces. These data afford important indicators of bureaucratic rules, horizontal and vertical social relations, key controls, and several worker (i.e., job satisfaction and sense of fair treatment) and workplace (i.e., organizational commitment and work effort) outcomes.

  • Results and conclusion: Our analyses of worker- and workplace-specific outcomes show a strong and independent impact of social relations compared to bureaucratic rules. Although these effects are largely parallel across status groups there are noteworthy gender differences indicating more pronounced detrimental structural effects for men and more marked relational effects for women. These results call for greater attention to relational dimensions of work-life and their consequence for organizations and the individuals within.

More details can be found in the published paper: Roscigno, Vincent J., Sauer, Carsten, & Valet, Peter (2018). Rules, Relations, and Work. American Journal of Sociology. 123(6): 1784-1825.

Attitudes towards Muslims and fear of terrorism

Henrik Andersen, Jochen Mayerl
(Corresponding Author:
May 2018

  • Motivation: This explorative study examines explanations for survey respondents’ reported fear of terrorism. So far, the relatively small number of empirical studies focusing on fear of terrorism have typically adopted an explanatory framework from the field of research on ‘fear of crime’. We argue that this approach is both unconvincing from an argumentative standpoint and not supported by our analysis.
  • Research questions: (1) How appropriate are the fear of crime-related predictors at explaining fear of terrorism? (2) How do attitudes towards Muslims (islamophobia) influence fear of ter-rorism?
  • Method: We conduct a mediator-analysis using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). Data is based on a non-probability quota sample of residents of the city of Kaiserslautern.

  • Results and conclusions: We show that respondents that report being fearful of becoming a victim of terrorism are also islamophobic. Attitudes towards Muslims completely mediate the effects of the fear of crime-related predictors. The findings cast previous empirical reports in a new light. Respondents tend not to be fearful of terrorism unless they also hold anti-Muslim attitudes. We argue that a new theoretical framework is needed and that, given the current climate, new approaches should incorporate attitudes towards Muslims.

More details can be found in a Short Report or in the published paper:
Andersen, Henrik, Mayerl, Jochen (2018) Attitudes towards Muslims and fear of terrorism. Ethnic and Racial Studies, published online January 15 2018. DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2017.1413200.

A decomposition of local labour-market conditions and their relevance for inequalities in transitions to vocational training

Steffen Hillmert, Andreas Hartung & Katarina Weßling
(Corresponding author:
May 2018

  •  Motivation: The specification of context variables often receives insufficient attention in empirical analyses. In particular, regional variation in context conditions may be conflated with trends over time.
  •  Research question: When accounting for this heterogeneity, to what extent have individual transitions to vocational training in Germany been affected by local labour-market conditions?
  •  Method:  We propose a statistical decomposition approach, which allows for a systematic differentiation between long-term change, short-term fluctuations, and structural regional differences in labour-market conditions. Regionalized labour-market data are merged with longitudinal data from the National Educational Panel Study, and multivariate transition-rate models are fitted.
  • Results and conclusions: Structural differences between regions have had significant effects on the transition behaviour of school leavers, whereas temporary crises have been of only minor relevance. Moreover, different groups have been affected to different degrees by varying labour-market conditions.

More information can be found in the published paper:Hillmert, Steffen, Hartung, Andreas & Weßling, Katarina (2017): A decomposition of local labour-market conditions and their relevance for inequalities in transitions to vocational training. European Sociological Review 33 (4): 534-550, DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcx057

Order without law:
Reputation promotes cooperation in a cryptomarket for illegal drugs

Wojtek Przepiorka, Lukas Norbutas, Rense Corten
(Corresponding author:
March 2018

Figure 1:
Reputation effects on item price

  • Motivation: Although the reputation mechanism has been shown to promote cooperation in humans, existing evidence is mostly based on small-scale laboratory experiments or on data obtained from online markets that are embedded in functioning legal systems. It is thus an open question whether reputation can promote cooperation at a large scale and in the absence of legal and moral assurances.
  • Research question: Can reputation formation promote cooperation in a large group of anonymous agents with doubtful intentions?
  • Method: Fixed effects regression based on transaction data from the cryptomarket Silk Road 1.0 with product prices and sales as dependent variable and seller reputations as independent variable. Cryptomarkets are online markets in the so-called Dark Web, which can only be accessed by means of encryption software that conceals users’ identities and locations.

  • Results and conclusions: Sellers’ rating histories affect the behavior of both sellers and buyers. Well-reputed sellers reap market benefits by increasing prices, while sellers with lower reputations decrease their prices to compensate potential buyers for the risk they take when buying from them (Figure 1). We also find that sellers with better reputations sell more goods over the same period of time. Our results challenge the institutional and social embeddedness of agents as necessary preconditions for the emergence of social order in markets.

Przepiorka, Wojtek, Lukas Norbutas and Rense Corten. 2017. "Order without Law: Reputation Promotes Cooperation in a Cryptomarket for Illegal Drugs." European Sociological Review 33(6):752-64. doi: 10.1093/esr/jcx072.

Well-Being Depends on Where You Come From:
Some New Results on the Reproduction of Social Inequality

Fabian Kratz, Gerrit Bauer, and Josef Brüderl
Corresponding author:
March 2018

Figure 1: Predicted well-being over the life course
(well-being measured by life satisfaction)

  • Motivation: This study adds two innovations to the literature on social inequality over generations. First, it uses a summary inequality measure (well-being) instead of single inequality dimensions, and secondly it employs a life course perspective instead of a static view.
  • Research questions: (1) Do children of high social origin show higher levels of well-being?
    (2) Does this social origin well-being differential widen over the life course?
  • Method: Random effects growth curves are estimated, using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP v31) covering the years from 1984 to 2014.

  • Results and Conclusions: Classical sociological hypotheses on social reproduction are supported. (1) There is a well-being differential such that high origin offspring is better off already early in life. (2) This well-being differential widens over the life course, meaning that there is a pattern of cumulative (dis-) advantage.

More details can be found in a Short Report or in the published paper:

Kratz, Fabian, Gerrit Bauer and Josef Brüderl (2018) Die Vererbung sozialer Ungleichheit: Ein neuer Ansatz zur Untersuchung einer klassischen soziologischen Frage. S. 71-87 in: M. Giesselmann et al. (eds.) Lebensbedingungen in Deutschland in der Längsschnittperspektive. Wiesbaden: Springer.