New findings from our labour force panel: with the 10th wave of the survey, we surveyed around 5,000 employees and jobseekers in July about their worries, burdens and trust in institutions

1) Worries:
➖financial worries stabilize at a high level: 51% are very worried about rising prices, 39% about old-age security
➖Concern about social cohesion at its highest level after steady increase in recent years ➡️ 48% here with major concerns

2) The same applies to perceived financial burdens:
➖ Although the proportion of extremely and heavily burdened people has declined slightly compared to the record high in November ’22, it is still above the value at the beginning of the pandemic
➖ Other loads stabilized at medium to lower levels.

3) Low-income respondents are not only the most likely to report worries about their economic viability. In this group, most financially related worries have continued to rise recently – contrary to the general trend.
The same applies to the financial burdens among respondents with low incomes: financial burdens have recently risen further here, while they are declining among respondents with higher incomes and tend to stagnate at an elevated level in the middle.

4) Institutional trust:
➖for many institutions such as the police, judiciary, trade unions or public law. Media tend to show stabilizing developments
➖The exception is the federal government, which continues to lose trust. The already low proportion with “great”/”very high” trust in the federal government has recently fallen again slightly, while the proportion of those who express “little”/”no confidence at all” has now risen to more than half of the respondents.

5) Trust in the federal government correlates with income situation and perceived burdens:
Respondents with low net household incomes (<€1,500/month) were significantly more likely (62%) to express low trust than respondents with high incomes (>€3,500; 44%).
Respondents who are very worried about the general or individual economic situation or about their jobs are far more likely than average to say that they have little or no trust in the federal government.

6) Relevant differences in institutional trust in East and West: whether in courts, police, armed forces, public law, etc. The media, trade unions or employers’ associations – the proportion of respondents in the East who express high or very high trust is smaller than in the West. Only the “party I vote for” is similarly or very much trusted by respondents in the East as by respondents in the West (43 vs. 42%).

7) AfD voters also express below-average trust in institutions (e.g. police, courts, armed forces, public law). media or trade unions). Their trust in the federal government is particularly low (2.8%). Only the “party I vote for” is something that AfD voters are slightly more likely to trust than the average voter. Among Green voters, trust in the elected party is even greater, and among SPD voters at a similar level.

Method: For the 10th wave of the Labour Force Panel, 5,029 employees and jobseekers were surveyed online by KANTAR in July ’23. The respondents represent the working population in 🇩🇪 terms of gender, age, education and federal state.
The full press release on the findings can be found here:


New data on reliability of public childcare

10 years introduction of the legal right to childcare from the age of 1. To this end, we have asked in the latest wave of our Labour Force Panel how reliably the care is guaranteed – for those who have a spot…

First, as a background, a few figures on the current situation: on 1.3.22, 35.5% of U3 children were in day care. Although this is a steady increase (10 years ago: 29%), this figure is rather low by international standards.

Important: there is a clear difference between the real childcare rate and the need rate – in other words: more parents want places than there are – according to the BMFSFJ the difference is 13.6 percentage points. According to the BIB, there is a shortage of 290,000 places for U3-year-olds.

Also important: the quality of care, for which the care key is usually used. Here, the desired standard is one caregiver for every 3 full-time children to be cared for. Here, the value ’22 for groups with U3 children was 4.0 (W 3.5; O 5,5).

Although more than 200,000 more skilled workers have been added since the daycare entitlement has been in ➡️force, experts estimate that there is currently a shortage of around 98,600 educators in the daycare sector, and by 2030 there could be over 230,000 unfilled positions.

Summing up the situation: the objective of the law is not being met. In view of this situation, we at WSI wanted to know to what extent reliable care is guaranteed for those who have a childcare place. To this end, we asked working and job-seeking parents with children in daycare or with the childminder – as part of our latest, now 10th survey wave of the Labour Force Panel (data from July ’23).

Findings: 57% of employed or job-seeking parents with children in daycare/childminders have recently been confronted with reductions in childcare time and/or temporary closures of facilities due to staff shortages (38% closures; 47% reductions in childcare time).

This poses major problems for many parents in their everyday lives: 67% of those surveyed stated that they find the loss of childcare or the shortening of time stressful (30% even as “very stressful”).

How do parents compensate for this? Almost half of the affected mothers and fathers took leave or reduced overtime during the closure or reduction of childcare time in order to compensate for the childcare gap. ~30% had to temporarily reduce their working hours.

A characteristic gender-specific difference can be seen in how often partners are involved: 63% of the fathers surveyed stated that their partner had stepped in for childcare, but only 33% of the mothers reported this about their partner.

Taken together, this indicates that for many of the parents who have one of the coveted childcare places for their children, care is often not reliably guaranteed – with the corresponding consequences (own burden and work-life balance). The worsening shortage of staff also has problematic consequences for educators. Studies traced the widespread overload and enormous psychological stress in the occupational group, which make the profession less attractive.

What to do? There is no quick solution to the problem – the result of years of development and omissions. It is important to upgrade the profession and make it more attractive: urgently improve working conditions in educational professions; better pay. Ein weiterer Ansatz, den auch Bettina Kohlrausch im Systemrelevant-Podcast diskutiert, wäre eine Ausbildungsoffensive für Erziehungsberufe, gekoppelt an deutlich bessere Personalschlüssel.

The advance publication of the childcare figures from the latest wave of the Labour Force Panel can also be read here in the press release:


New study on trust in labor unions and institutions in general

Most recently, we had observed major changes in trust in institutions in our surveys. After a decline in confidence in all the institutions examined in April ’22, trust in trade unions has recently recorded the greatest gain.

Initially, trust in trade unions fell significantly from 24% to 19% from October 2021 to April 2022, in line with trust levels in other institutions. In November 2022, it rose significantly again to 24% – more than for all other institutions surveyed.

The absolute values may not seem great here. However, we have surveyed institutional trust on a 5-point scale and presented only the two largest manifestations above. Respondents were relatively most likely to place “mediocre” trust in trade unions.

Trust in the public media or the federal government could not recover during the period and even continued to fall. Most recently, between 40 and 48% expressed “little” or “no” trust in the two institutions.

In a detailed analysis of the change in confidence in trade unions, we look at who has particularly low trust in trade unions and who has a particularly high level of trust in trade unions. On the other hand, we look at who has recently gained trust more frequently.

It has a positive effect on trade union confidence when people have a direct connection to trade unions and their activities – for example, they are members themselves or work in a co-determined company. As expected, the “quality of experience” plays an important role here: Employees who are satisfied with the work of their works council also have higher trust in trade unions on average. Those who are dissatisfied are more likely to be suspicious. Also, trade union trust goes hand in hand with that in other institutions, so it is apparently “with fundamental acceptance of the pol. systems”. Trust is also more likely to be above average among supporters of “progressive” parties such as the SPD, Greens, Left (&FDP).

What is noteworthy, however, is that the increase in confidence in trade unions between April and November ’22 affects different groups to a similar extent, including, for example, those who do not vote at all or vote for the AfD.

This suggests that trade unions have the potential to make a convincing offer to those groups that are otherwise rather sceptical about the political and democratic system. In the case of respondents who are very worried, for example because of the general. economic situation or the soz. Inequality, trust in trade unions tends to be lower. However, it increased more frequently than average between April and Nov ’22.

Apparently, the trade unions have recently been perceived by some as a social actor that addresses the problem of social justice in an appropriate way.

The study is based on 3 survey waves of the WSI Labour Force Panel, which surveyed 5,100-6,200 people in the labour force between🇩🇪 Oct ’21-Nov ’22. The full study by Bettina Kohlrausch and myself can be downloaded here:


New study on conspiracy beliefs concerning the war in Ukraine and devaluations of Ukrainian Refugees in Germany is available.

Here are the five main findings:

1) While majority (74%) of the labor force in 🇩🇪 opposes conspiracy beliefs, ~10-20% agree to the statements. Prevalence of devaluations of Ukrainian Refugees in 🇩🇪 are not negligible and temper the picture of the sheerly positive German welcoming culture toward Ukrainians.

Charts show the agreement to the items.
conspiracy beliefs:
11% agree to “the war in Ukraine only serves to distract from the pandemic”.
19% agree to “the war in Ukraine is exactly as dramatized as the pandemic”
devaluations toward Ukrainian Refugees:
38% agree to “we cannot receive even more Refugees in Germany”.
35% do not agree to “Germany should be generous when it comes to receiving Refugees from Ukraine”.
28% agree to “Ukrainian Refugees have to wait in line here in Germany”

2) Conspiracy beliefs appear as pretty open for right-wing content in Germany. Majority of those sharing conspiracy beliefs agree to devaluations of Ukrainian Refugees. Only 4% of respondents sharing conspiracy beliefs do *not* agree to the devaluations.

The top bar shows the distribution of devaluations of Ukrainian Refugees among all respondents: 17% agree to the devaluations. The lowest bar shows the distribution of devaluations among respondens who share conspiracy beliefs: here the agreement rate is 52%.

3) Agreement is higher among the disadvantaged labor force (low income, educational-level) – particularly among the young, (male) disadvantaged.* Experiences of powerlessness & alienation here relevant.

*latter should be interpreted with caution due to small sample sizes.

Chart shows distributions of conspiracy beliefs (top) and devaluations of Ukrainian Refugees (bottom).
The respective bar at the top always displays the distribution among all respondents: 9% agree to conspiracy beliefs; 17% to devaluations. Below displayed are the distributions among specific socio-demographic characteristics: “jung” = young; “geringverdienend” = low income; “geringe Schulbildung” = low educational level;
Agreement among young & low educational level (“jung und geringe Schulbildung”): conspiracy beliefs 26%, devaluations 30%

4) Majority of those sharing conspiracy beliefs about the war in 🇺🇦 also shared pandemic-related conspiracy beliefs earlier. Shows how exchangeable & adaptable the content of conspiracies is. Also: here much more often uncooperative behaviors during pandemic (vax…)

30% of those who agreed 1,5 years ago to “I can imagine that behind the pandemic is an elite that tries to create a new world order” now agree to conspiracy beliefs about the Ukraine war (all respondents: 9%).
31% of the unvaxxed respondents (in January ´22) agree now to the conspiracy beliefs about the Ukraine war. (9% among all respondents; 5% among “boostered” respondents).
22% of those respondents who assessed 2 years ago the protection measures against the virus as unjustified now agree to the conspiracy beliefs aout the Ukraine war. (all respondents: 9%)

5) financial and job worries, as well as political alienation – both recently much more widespread in Germany – are also highly relevant. In crises such as this one, insecurities and lack of trust are particularly potent.

agreement among respondents with worries about their job security: conspiracy beliefs 21%, devaluations: 28% (all respondents: 9% and 17%)
agreement among respondents with worries about their career perspectives: conspiracy beliefs 18%, devaluations: 31% (all respondents: 9% and 17%)

These findings should raise awareness for the threat of further destabilization processes. It becomes obvious how compatible and attractive conspiracy beliefs can become and how quickly solidarity is revoked, when financial securities begin to sway.

The findings also show relatively small but in their attitudes highly solid clientele that has most widely turned its back on democratic discourses, with great distrust in societal institutions and that predominantly behaved uncooperatively during the pandemic.

Data: The data is from the @boeckler_de-labor-force-study, a panel-study that repeatedly surveyed 6.000-7.500 respondents (labor-force >16 years). The first survey took place in April ´20. Most of the findings presented here are from the latest 8th wave surveyed in Apr/May´22.

You can download the full German report here:


New paper published on explaining when older persons are perceived as a burden

The paper in a nutshell: we have previously developed a concept we called “marketized mentality” (or “MM”) that depicts a strong personal commitment to the principal values associated with the market economy.

In our prior studies, we found that people with MM are more likely to devaluate groups such as the unemployed, the homeless, persons with disabilities, but also immigrants because such persons are readily stigmatized as being “unprofitable”. We now wanted to test, whether such a mechanism also holds true for the phenomenon of ageism (i.e. the devaluation of older persons) with a specific interest in the perception of older persons as burdensome. We made use of World Values Survey data of individuals from 59 countries.

We find that individuals exhibiting MM – a mentality characterized by a dominance of egoistic, market values at the expense of moral solidarity – are particularly likely to perceive older persons as burdensome. Moreover, we consider country characteristics and find that countries where MM is widespread are associated with high levels of ageism, too. Other important predictors: a low share of older people and fast ageing countries, stressing the importance of favorable in-gorup-out-group constellations as well as of pressures of demographic aging that amplify the perception of older populations as being burdensome.

MM appers useful for explaining both individual-level and country-level variation in the perception that older persons are a burden to society. The results also suggest that MM serves as a devaluation mechanism that operates in a similar manner across different target groups.

Here´s my twitter-Thread on the paper:

Our new findings of the labor-force-panel paint picture of highly unsettled society

With the latest wave of the HBS-labor-force-panel (data from April ´22), we analyzed the worries and burdens in a time of pandemic, war in Ukraine and record inflation. The findings are summarized in this Twitter-Thread:

New findings of the labor-force-panel: mothers´ situation particularly worrisome

We analyzed the latest wave of the HBS-labor-force-panel and published our findings. In short: while securing and protecting the financial situation of most of the working force worked rather well in Germany, ensuring and supporting the care-work is largely lacking at the cost of mothers. They feel exhausted and let down.

Mothers report particularly high and recently again rising strain in several branches of life. They report the highest rates of worry about the societal situation, for example the worry about social cohesion.

We see an incredible amount of loss of trust among mothers: 78% report that they are unsatisfied with the crisis handling of the federal government – a record low during the pandemic.

Many among them do not feel sufficiently protected from the virus amidst record incidences among children. The worry about infection rose considerably again among mothers.

The insufficient protection of care work during the pandemic led to a privatization of care work. And who covers? Recently again the mothers. While during the first lockdown also the fathers took responsibility here, this was only a temporary phenomenon. Since then the share of mothers who take the main part of the care work rose constantly.

Finally, mothers report more often reduction of working hours as a result of the often very last-minute lack of public care. Every fifth mother reports a reduction of working hours to take care of her children. Only during the first strict lockdown, we saw higher values.

Here´s the full press release (only German):

Here´s a Twitter thread about the findings (in German):

Podcast on Transformation attitudes

Together with Bettina Kohlrausch and Marco Herack, I had the chance to talk about our study on attitudes to transformation, such as digitalization and socioecological transformation in the Systemrelevant-Podcast of the Hans-Böckler-Foundation (unfortunately, only German). Thank you, that was big fun.

Here are helpful visualizations of the findings that I present in the podcast:


Study on impact of work and transformation on illiberal-authoritarian anti-democratic attitudes in Germany now published in English

We translated and published our study on anti-democratic attitudes now as a WSI-Policy Brief. The study shows what an enormous Herculean task the pressing future challenges of digitalization and socioecological transformation represent and how big the potential for further societal polarization lies dormant in them. It becomes clear that the socially deprived in Germany experience transformation processes as greater threat and are in greater opposition than those with sufficient resources. Transformation processes harbor the danger of further societal polarization resulting in more prevalent anti-democratic attitudes.

Here´s a comprehensive summary of some of the main findings in a Twitter Thread:

The full study can be downloaded here:


New Study on Covid-Skepticism and Conspiracy Myths with German Panel data

Today I published a new study that analyzed the HBS-working force panel regarding Covid-Skepticism and Conspiracy Myths (N=5.047). Here are the four main findings:

Covid Skepticism and Conspiracy Myths remain widespread in Germany in Summer 2021 – regardless of lower Covid-incidences or lower protests: 18% of the German workforce with agreement to all items. Agreement is rather rising than decreasing compared to earlier timepoints in the pandemic.

The items of Covid Skepticism and harsh Conspiracy Myths are very highly correlated: respondents sharing skepticism in most cases also agree to Conspiracy Myths – only a few differentiate between the items.

Several groups with above-average agreement (interestingly these groups are very stable: the same groups with above-average agreement last summer) 1. The Deprived (low income or low education): increased powerlessness; 2. The financially Burdened during the Crisis (massive loss of control); 3. The Younger (who perceive lower Covid health threats while suffering everyday hardship); 4. Those spared by the virus (here it´s easier to maintain myth of harmless virus) and 5. Respondents in Eastern Germany (who report a much higher distrust in political institutions).

Conspiracy Myths pose a signfificant threat to democratic societies as they have problematic behavior implications: 1. Those agreeing to Skepticism and Conspiracy Myths with very low commitment to established German parties; they predominantly vote for the right-wing populist AfD or do not vote at all. 2. They report much more frequently reckless and rule-violating pandemic behavior. 3. They very frequently have not been vaccinated yet and do not intent to.

The full study can be downloaded here. Here is the press release.