Felix Büchel, who passed away on July 12, 2004, at the age of 47, was not only a major long-time user of SOEP data and active supporter of the SOEP project. He also exhibited all of the qualities that SOEP users should ideally possess. Felix was an excellent scholar and serious policy advisor. His research focussed on issues of crucial economic and social importance, and he made effective use of the entire spectrum of possibilities SOEP data have to offer. His research was interdisciplinary, covering topics in education, labor markets, immigration, and income distribution. And he always made use of the longitudinal features of SOEP.
Felix was a great colleague and loyal friend; he showed true caring for others and a constant spirit of optimism. His death after a long battle with cancer was untimely, and leaves a void that will be very difficult to fill.
Felix was a tenured Senior Research Scientist (Forschungsgruppenleiter) at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development (Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung) in Berlin. He was a Professor of Economics (Adjunct Professorship) at the Technical University of Berlin, a Professor of Sociology (Honorary Professorship) at the Free University of Berlin, and a Research Professor for the German Socio-Economic Panel study (SOEP) at DIW Berlin .
The Felix Büchel Award is dedicated to his memory. Every two years starting in 2006, the award will be granted to the one SOEP user who best demonstrates the qualities of excellence in scholarship that Felix exhibited by carrying out interdisciplinary longitudinal research, in many cases from a comparative perspective and situated in a national and international context. Felix published his results not only in renowned professional journals but in policy papers as well. His impressive publication record in international journals should offer a role model for future prize-winners to follow.
The committee for selecting the prize-winner will be comprised of representatives of the SOEP staff, and of both the Programme Committee for the biennial International Conference of SOEP Users and the SOEP Scientific User Committee.
The award is a 1,000 € cash prize plus an invitation to the International Research Conference of SOEP users in Berlin, where the prize will be granted and the winner will be invited to give a keynote address.
On July 1, 2022, at the 14th International SOEP User Conference at DIW Berlin, the eighth Felix Büchel Award was awarded to C. Katharina Spieß.
Dr. Constantin Terton, from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Berlin (IHK Berlin), handed over once again the prize certificate in the name of the prize sponsor (Society of Friends of the DIW Berlin, VdF) and Prof. Uwe Sunde from Ludwigs-Maximilians University in Munich held the laudatory speech (printed below).
© DIW Berlin / F.Schuh
© DIW Berlin / F.Schuh
From 2006 to 2018, the award has been granted every two years to the one SOEP user who best demonstrates the qualities of excellence in scholarship that Felix Büchel exhibited by carrying out interdisciplinary longitudinal research, in many cases from a comparative perspective and situated in a national and international context. The awardees have been very eminent and influential scholars.
This year – after a Covid-related break – the Felix Büchel Award 2022 is granted to C. Katharina Spieß.
Katharina Spieß studied economics at the University of Mannheim and completed a PhD on the role of governmental intervention in child care at the University of Bochum. After working for an economic consulting company in Basel for three years, she joined the DIW Berlin and worked in the SOEP department for several years. In 2005, she obtained her habilitation from the Technische Universität in Berlin, and in 2006, she became full professor for family economics and education economics at the Freie Universität Berlin, with a joint appointment at DIW Berlin as director of the department for education and family. In 2021, she became the director of the Federal Institute for Population Research and professor for population economics at the Johannes-Gutenberg University Mainz.
During her career she held several visiting positions in Amsterdam, Den Haag, Cornell, Seattle, and at the Max-Planck Institute for Education Research in Berlin.
Katharina Spieß represents in a unique way the qualities of excellence in interdisciplinary scholarship using the potential of longitudinal data in general and of the SOEP in particular. And this applies to her work in three distinct dimensions: scientific contributions, contributions to economic policy, and contributions to the development of the SOEP.
Let me begin by the scientific contributions. Katharina Spieß has an extraordinary interdisciplinary research output. In economics, her research output spans various fields ranging from education economics, population economics, family economics, health economics, labor economics to economic psychology. In addition, her work also covers other disciplines, including sociology, psychology, and pedagogics. This research output is impressive in terms of quantity and scientific impact, as documented by the raw descriptive statistics: an h-index of 43, and more than 6400 citations on Google Scholar. Her most recognized work probably relates to family economics and early childhood development.
When I co-organized a conference on behalf of the Volkswagen Foundation in Hanover in 2015 about the long-term processes of socio-economic development, we did not have to think long about an expert to invite to speak about the role of education and equal opportunities – and thankfully Katharina Spieß accepted our invitation. In her talk, Katharina reminded us that not all early-childhood education is equal, but for educational programs to have an impact and a high return on investment, programs need to be targeted at disadvantaged childrens’ earliest years. And here, Katharina convincingly made the point that, Germany, with the great discrepancies in attendance of pre-school programs among low SES groups or migrants, would stand to benefit a lot from targeted early-childhood education programs. Investing more in early care would greatly complement secondary and tertiary education expenditures.
This already points toward the second dimension of Katharina’s work: impact on policy by providing scientific advice with a clear message. She was and is member of numerous influential and high-level scientific commissions. These include the board of experts for the family report to the federal government of Germany, the board of the child and youth report to the federal government, the forum for early childhood development of the federal ministry of social affairs, family and youth, the board of experts on demography of the federal ministry of the interior, the advisory board for the federal initiative to improve childcare, and of the scientific advisory board to the performance of the education sector.
A particular aspect of this work is that Katharina Spieß works as an evidence-based scientist in these commissions and thereby shifts the focus on evidence rather than ideology. One of the examples to illustrate this is her work as expert for the commission to evaluate all family-related benefits for the federal ministry for social affairs, family, and youth, initiated by the then minister and now president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. The first recommendation of the expert commission was to invest in the data basis for the evaluation. This included preference surveys of parents, but also a longitudinal data basis with high overlap to the SOEP. In fact, this was the start of the survey Families in Germany (or FiD), which was implemented by the SOEP group with several samples and eventually incorporated into the SOEP infrastructure and data family. Katharina Spieß coordinated this process as project director in the SOEP department.
Which brings me to the third dimension of Katharina Spieß’ work: a continuing engagement in innovating data collection and surveys to improve our scientific database. With her focus on the importance of early childhood development, Katharina constantly fought to improve the available data in this field. During her time at the SOEP in the early 2000s, Katharina and her team began to work with experts in education and infant development to develop age-specific survey questionnaires for mothers and children. In 2002, the first mother-child questionnaire (Mutter-Kind-Fragebogen) was fielded among mothers with a new born child. This cohort was then followed every two to three years with another age-specific questionnaire. The so-collected data had considerable impact on the field of education research related to early-child development. In addition, Katharina initiated a survey among childcare centers to shed light on the institutional environment.
Taken together, the achievements of Katharina Spieß in the dimensions of scientific contributions, policy outreach, and development of longitudinal data make her the ideal awardee of the Felix Büchel Award 2022.
Dear Katharina, congratulations to this well-deserved award!
© DIW Berlin / F.Schuh
On July 20, 2018, at the 13th International SOEP User Conference at the BBAW in Berlin, the seventh Felix Büchel Award was awarded to Armin Falk.
Dr. Constantin Terton, from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Berlin (IHK Berlin), handed over the prize certificate in the name of the prize sponsor (Society of Friends of the DIW Berlin, VdF).
© DIW Berlin
Felix Büchel Award 2018, Photo: C. Kurka
Prof. Dr. Armin Falk, briq - Institute on Behavior and Inequality and Bonn University
The Felix Büchel Award is being given for the seventh time this year. Previous awards went to economists, a psychologist, a political scientist, and a sociologist.
For the first time, the Felix Büchel Award goes to an economist working in the field of experimental economics.
Armin Falk is one of the most successful economists in Germany today. He teaches at the University of Bonn and is the Chief Executive Officer at the Institute for Behavior and Inequality (briq) in Bonn.
He plays a central role in the activities of leading economic research institutes in Germany and internationally, holding lectures at universities like Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and the University of Chicago.
He has received numerous prestigious awards including the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, the Gossen Prize, a Starting Grant of the European Research Council, and the Yrjö Jahnsson Award, considered one of the most important awards for economists in Europe. This year, we are pleased to present him with the most prestigious award in the SOEP community: The Felix Büchell Award.
Armin Falk’s research deals with the psychological foundations of economic behavior. He has shown, for instance, that attempting to monitor and control employees may be less effective than trusting them. He has proven that alongside self-interest, social comparisons are an important aspect of human behavior, and that people reward fairness. In past award presentations, it has been noted that Armin Falk’s findings have significant implications for basic economic research as well as important practical applications. In other words: Armin Falk’s work represents knowledge transfer at its best. His findings aim at improving the explanatory power of economic models and have provided the basis for empirically well-founded economic policy.
In a number of field and laboratory experiments, Armin Falk has tested what motivations drive people’s behavior in different economic situations. In his work, he is not afraid to combine methodologies from life sciences with data from surveys or experiments.
Armin Falk was born fifty years ago in Bergisch Gladbach – so he is still close in age to Felix Büchel when he was publishing some of his most important work.
He has been a dedicated and enthusiastic ambassador for the SOEP for many years. In lectures on a wide array of topics, he never fails to mention the “great longitudinal database SOEP” in Berlin. He has been working with the SOEP around 15 years, and now also has a formal relationship with the SOEP since briq and DIW Berlin are working together on the basis of a cooperation contract to conduct the Bonn Intervention Panel (BIP).
It all started with the inclusion of laboratory experiments in SOEP Pretests and in 2006 in part of the main SOEP survey.
"I still remember visiting Armin’s office at the University of Zürich back in around 2002. On his door, he had hung a historic CDU election poster from the sixties or seventies proclaiming, “Keine Experimente - No experiments!” I immediately liked his sense of humor. And indeed Armin Falk is an extremely likable, interesting, and engaging colleague—very much like Felix Büchel was."
"The paper we coauthored with Thomas Dohmen, David Hufmann, Uwe Sunde and Gert Wagner, entitled “Individual risk attitudes: Measurement, determinants, and behavioral consequences,” went through two rejections by journals where the editors are now hopefully jealous of our high number of citations, and then two tough rounds of revision before the paper was finally being published in the Journal of the European Economic Association in 2011. I remember Armin ranting about our reviewers’ arrogance and conservative attitudes. Our paper was an experimental cross-validation of the now widely used subjective SOEP risk question, and the working paper version of the article had already been published in 2005 as a DIW Discussion Paper. But Armin did not give up, and today, the journal version published in 2011 has almost 700 citations in SSCI journals and 1700 citations in Google Scholar and is among the most widely cited SOEP papers ever, followed by the paper by Winkelmann and Winkelmann with 612 SSCI citations. Incidentally, on google scholar, the unemployment paper by Winkelmann and Winkelmann is still our number 1 SOEP publication, with currently 1805 citations."
In the last few years, the SOEP Innovation Sample has continued Armin Falk’s randomized field experiment with students at middle schools in Cologne and Bonn, as he discussed in his keynote lecture earlier today.
Field experiments like these, using randomized treatment groups and linked to the SOEP, will only increase in the years to come. We are delighted that in Armin Falk, we have one the best in this field as a faithful supporter and reliable advocate for the SOEP.
© DIW Berlin
From left: Armin Falk and Constantin Terton; Felix Büchel Award 2018 (Photo: C. Kurka)
Speech and remarks by Jürgen Schupp (Vice Director of SOEP)
On June 23, 2016, at the 12th International SOEP User Conference at the WZB in Berlin, the sixth Felix Büchel Award was awarded to Rainer Winkelmann.
Felix Büchel Award 2016
Prof. Rainer Winkelmann, Chair of Department of Economics at University of Zurich
Photo: Alfred Gutzler
Jenny Hunt, last award winner, introduced Rainer Winkelmann and his work to the audience:
"It is my privilege to make history today by presenting the Sixth Felix Büchel Award to a rock climber and mountain runner: Prof. Rainer Winkelmann. He is not merely a chalk-carrying professor of economics; he’s an international, chalk-wielding adventurer.
Professor Winkelmann’s education spanned three countries:
Both as a visiting and a regular professor, Professor Winkelmann’s expertise and wisdom have been sought by universities in:
Professor Winkelmann has made key contributions to economic research in several areas. He is an
The quality and quantity of his research can be summarized by the so-called h-index: He has 39 articles that have been cited more than 39 times in Google Scholar, which is a remarkable feat, and total citations of 7,408.
And, nearly every step along his professional journey, Professor Winkelmann has turned to SOEP.
But skilled mountaineers do not waste time focusing on how far they have come, they just keep aiming higher.
Through his contributions to SOEP, Professor Winkelmann has been a reliable guide to his colleagues. He has served as:
He will also serve on the DIW Scientific Advisory Board.
Successful climbers also rely on their own personal rock to stay grounded during difficult times. As Professor Winkelmann explores happiness, health and wellbeing, it is worth noting that his partner in life and research, Liliana Winkelmann, is also here.
Professor Winkelmann continues to scale mountains.
For his tremendous contributions to the field; for his energetic, passionate pursuit of knowledge; for masterfully using SOEP data to reveal truths about our world; Professor Winkelmann has earned the Felix Büchel Award."
From left to right: Jenny Hunt, Rainer Winkelmann, Jürgen Schupp: Felix Büchel Award 2016
Photo: Alfred Gutzler
The Felix Büchel Award is being given for the fifth time this year. Previous awards went to economists, a psychologist, and a political scientist. This year the Award Committee has broadened its horizons and given the award jointly to an eminent sociologist and an eminent footballer.
Professor Jenny Hunt
This is the year of the World Cup, so we'll start with the footballer. Professor Jenny Hunt of Rutgers University in New Jersey is well remembered here as the best foreign footballer ever to play for the DIW team. In the 1980s, she was known as "The Maradona of the DIW".
Professor Hunt has an interesting background. She was born in Sydney, Australia and moved with her parents to Geneva as a young girl. She completed her secondary education in Switzerland, then took an electrical engineering degree at MIT in the U.S. After graduating in that field, she switched to economics, taking her PhD at Harvard and then becoming an Assistant Professor, later an Associate Professor there. She subsequently moved to the University of Montreal and then to McGill University in Canada. She became Professor of Economics at Rutgers in 2011.
At present she is on leave from Rutgers, serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Microeconomic Analysis in the U.S. Treasury. She previously served as Chief Economist to the Secretary of Labor.
Her research has always had a strong policy focus. She has worked on issues relating to immigration, employment and unemployment, wage inequality, transition economics, crime and corruption. In recent times she undertook research on the 2008-09 economic crisis as it affected Germany. She has also studied issues of labor supply in the science and engineering workforce in the U.S. and, related to that, innovation in the U.S. economy.
Professor Hunt was one of the first foreign users of SOEP and began to analyse the data on working time more than twenty years ago. Her publications in top journals, including The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Economica, The Journal of Labor Economics and Brookings Papers on Economic Activity drew the attention of an international audience to some of the perceived successes of German labor market policies.
Professor Hunt's most recent SOEP-based publication is a written version of her keynote speech to the Verein fuer Socialpolitik annual conference in 2012. The article is entitled, "Flexible work time in Germany: Do workers like it and how have employers exploited it over the cycle?"
She is a distinguished economist and policy practitioner...and a very worthy recipient of the Felix Büchel Award.
Professor Thomas Klein
The eminent co-recipient of the Award is Professor Thomas Klein, who is Professor of Macrosociology and Methods of Empirical Research at the University of Heidelberg. He is also currently Director of the Max Weber Institute for Sociology; a great honour in the year in which the 150th anniversary of Max Weber is being celebrated.
Professor Klein has been involved with SOEP since its very beginning. In the early 1980s he was a member of the German Research Foundation's celebrated Collaborative Research Centre, Sfb3, which was set up to develop "The Microanalytical Foundations of Social Policy", or more informally, to develop a set of valid social indictors for Germany. At the time he was finishing his PhD in economics at the University of Frankfurt, working in the Institute headed by Professor Richard Hauser, who was one of the founders and leaders of Sfb3.
Professor Klein has previously worked at the Universities of Karlsruhe and Konstanz. He took up his current Chair at Heidelberg in 1994.
He has a very wide range of distinguished publications. More than twenty years ago, he wrote one of the first papers in Germany using SOEP data, which analysed the relationship between social status and mortality. He has also written extensively on issues relating to income distribution, education, paid work, health and the family. In recent years, health and the sociology of the family have been his main research interests. One of his most famous papers, co-authored with Hilke Brockman in 2004, is "Love and Death in Germany: The marital biography and its effect on mortality". The paper demonstrates that getting married and staying married increase the survival chances - the longevity - of both men and women, but especially men. Women cope rather better at surviving the health risks associated with separation, divorce, and widowhood.
Altogether Professor Klein has over fifty SOEP-based publications, and of course many top-level non-SOEP publications. He is a very eminent recipient of the Felix Büchel Award.
Remarks by Bruce Headey (award winner 2012).
The Felix Büchel Award in 2012, bestowed for the fourth time on the 10th International SOEP User Conference SOEP 2012, was awarded to Bruce W. Headey (University of Melbourne, Australia).
Bruce W. Headey: Felix Büchel Award 2012
Photo: Stephan Röhl
Arne Brekenfeld presented the winner of the 2012 Felix Büchel Award to Bruce W. Headey of the University of Melbourne for his over 20 years of work and the publication of 49 refereed papers based on SOEP data. The previous Felix Büchel Award winner from 2010, Rich Lucas, Professor at Michigan State University, held the speech honoring Bruce Headey's work.
from left: Richard Lucas, Bruce Headey, Jürgen Schupp, and Arne Brekenfeld: Felix Büchel Award 2012
Photo: Stephan Röhl
The Felix Büchel Award in 2010, bestowed for the third time on the 9th International SOEP User Conference SOEP 2010, was awarded to Richard E. Lucas (Michigan State University, Department of Psychology).
Richard Hauser, Richard E. Lucas and Richard V. Burkhauser: Felix Büchel Award 2010
Photo: Stephan Röhl
The laudation for Rich Lucas, was held by Richard V. Burkhauser, on of the holders of the FBA 2010.
Among other details, he pointed out:
"Today it is my pleasure to announce the winner of the 2010 Felix Büchel Award — Richard E. Lucas.
Like Felix, Richard has, over the ten years since receiving his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Illinois, produced an outstanding record of scholarship in highly visabile peer reviewed journals as well as in broader policy outlets. Much of Richard‘s research has focused on the degree that exogenous factors affect individual life satisfaction over the life course. He is one of the leading scholars in this multidisaplinary field focusing on the transitory and permenent consequences of such events. In his research, he has used the SOEP and other international longitudinal data sets to test his hypotheses. And, he has worked with the SOEP data team to make the SOEP the leading longitudinal data set for such studies. In 2003, in recognition of his work with the SOEP, Richard was made a DIW Research Professor, a position he still holds. In addition at the 2004 International Research Conference of SOEP users his paper:
Richard E. Lucas, Andrew E. Clark, Yannis Georgellis, and Ed Diener, Reexamining Adaptation and the Set Point Model of Happiness: Reactions to Changes in Martial Status Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 84(3), 2003, pp. 527-539
won the award for the best publication using SOEP data in 2003. In more recent work using the SOEP and other longitudinal data sets, Richard and his colleagues have challenged the conventional wisdom that indivuduals fully adapt to a major satisfaction changing event and over time return to their previous permanent level of satisfaction. Instead they find that such events result in permanent changes in their underlying satisfaction whose effect is never fully reversed by time alone."
Burkhauser's complete laudation (PDF, 22.71 KB)
The Felix Büchel Award in 2008, bestowed for the second time at the SOEP 2008 conference, was awarded jointly to Richard V. Burkhauser (Cornell University, NY/USA) and Richard Hauser (Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main).
The laudation for both scholars, who share the prize, was held by Regina Riphahn, the holder of the FBA 2006.
She pointed out:
Dear friends of the Socioeconomic Panel,
it is my pleasure to give the laudation for this year's winners of the Felix-Büchel Award.The selection committee has to ensure that the winner of the prize in the memory of Felix Büchel meets four criteria
1. carries out interdisciplinary longitudinal research with a comparative perspective in the national and international context
2. publishes in renowned journals and policy papers
3. makes extensive use of the SOEP in research and training
4. plays an active role in promoting SOEP's future development.
This year the prize is awarded jointly to two excellent scholars of microdata based research, who both contributed in a great extend to the promotion of the SOEP, who published successfully always with a comparative perspective, and with an eye on policy relevance.
Please join me in giving a hand to congratulate Richard Burkhauser and Richard Hauser, our double Rich. Personally, I am honored to be the laudator to both of these eminent researchers whom I have known since the early years of my own dissertation project.
I will give a brief biographical sketch for both, in alphabetical order.
Richard V. Burkhauser
is currently the "Sarah Gibson Blanding Professor of Policy Analysis" at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.
He obtained his BA, MA and PhD all in economics, the last degree in 1976 at the University of Chicago.
Afterwards he had appointments at various institutions (e.g. US Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and Institute for Research on Poverty) before he spent about 11 years at Vanderbilt University were he became full professor. Then he left the south and moved to Syracuse University were he taught for 9 years. Since 1998 he has been at Cornell.
Since many years he has had ties to Germany, he visited the University of Frankfurt/Main in 1988, and is currently research professor of the DIW. His research interests are in the areas of disability, aging, retirement, and income security.
Richard is an very active and effective scholar, who published and edited broadly, did interdisciplinary research with many government contracts, gave public testimony, served on many public panels and did policy advising throughout.
In connection with the SOEP Richard Burkhauser is the mayor promoter of the Cross National Equivalence Files, most of you know and appreciate. He is a deserving recipient of the Felix Büchel Award.
No less is Richard Hauser, our second award winner.
Richard Hauser is currently emeritus Professor of Social Policies at the University of Frankfurt/Main.
He obtained his training including a banking apprenticeship all in Munich and at the University of Munich. For about 2 years he was appointed Full Professor of Economic Policy at the Berlin University of Technology, before he started his career in Frankfurt. Richard Hauser held the chair of Social Policy at the University of Frankfurt for 25 years. From there he undertook numerous research visits abroad, and it seems that during some of these one Rich visited the other Rich.
Richard Hauser is an expert on issues of poverty, income distribution and social security policies. He administered numerous research projects on these issues, has published widely in Germany and on the international level, and has always been a highly esteemed advisor of the government. He is the one to ask if you want to know the facts about poverty in Germany.
Richard Hauser was instrumental in establishing the SOEP from its very beginning and can be considered as one of its fathers. Even though Richard Hauser left the SOEP advisory council in 1997 he has remained a strong voice in the ongoing and highly successful process of making data in general available for empirical research in Germany.
I am very happy to present to you Richard Hauser and Richard Burkhauser. Both of them are deserving recipients of the Felix Büchel award, both have contributed enormously to the development of the SOEP, have used the SOEP in their research, and have outstanding publication records.
The first Felix Büchel Award, nearly two years since Felix' passing away on July 12, 2004, was dedicated to Regina R. Riphahn.
Johannes Schwarze evoked in his speech the qualities of the work of Felix Büchel, who makes him a role model for SOEP users.
Concerning the decision for Regina he pointed out:
"In view of the criteria for the Felix Büchel Prize, the committee was looking for someone who:
We didn't have to search long, and we think Felix would appreciate our choice. The winner of the First Felix Buechel Award in 2006 is Regina Riphahn. Regina, my congratulations. As I think that Regina is well known to most of you, I will give only a brief biographical sketch.
Regina studied Economics, Business Administration, and Sociology at the Universities of Cologne, Sussex (UK), Bonn, Tennessee (US), and North Carolina (US). She received an MBA at the University of Tennessee, and a PhD in Economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1995. Four years later, she completed her post-doctoral Habilitation on the dynamics of social assistance dependence in Germany at the University of Munich. Since then, she has held professorships at the Universities of Mainz and Basel. Since 2005, she has held the Chair for Statistics and Empirical Economics at the University of Erlangen (Germany). Regina T. Riphahn is a fellow of IZA (Institut Zukunft der Arbeit, Bonn), and also Research Professor at DIW Berlin (in the SOEP department). Her research interests are in applied microeconometrics, personnel, labor, social policy, population, and health economics.
Regina has published in a broad range of well-known economic journals. She is also a very active writer: I have counted eight papers she has published in international refereed journals since 2005, all based on SOEP data. Regina also introduces her students to SOEP, and thanks to her influence, microeconometric teaching in Nuremberg is closely related to applied analysis using the SOEP."