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History and Purpose of LIfBi - from the Origin of the National Educational Panel to the Present Day


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Returns to Education Over The Life Course


This project aimed to investigate the returns to formal educational careers and general basic cognitive competencies in three dimensions that are of great importance in adulthood both for the individuals themselves and for their social environment and, moreover, are closely interrelated: subjective well-being, social capital, and social and political participation. The core of the project was to answer the following two questions: What is the contribution of formal educational careers, educational attainment, and basic cognitive skills to explaining differences in satisfaction, social capital, and social participation in adulthood? On which of these three non-monetary return dimensions do the different aspects of education - career, certificates, and competencies - have a direct effect and on which do they have only an indirect effect?



The project was part of a joint project "Educational Returns Over The Life Course", which was carried out together with Prof. Dr. Beatrice Rammstedt and Clemens Lechner (GESIS). The project was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research between 2016 and 2019 as part of the collaborative program "Non-monetary Returns to Education". There, in addition to the educational returns mentioned here, the correlation of education and personality aspects in childhood and adulthood were also investigated. The two subprojects of the collaborative project were interlinked in several ways: through a common analytical framework, the use of the same data basis, the coordination of the methodological approach, through analyses that built on each other and used the same outcome dimensions from different perspectives, and by writing joint publications.



The questions were primarily examined using data from the adult cohort of the National Educational Panel (NEPS Start Cohort 6). In order to check the plausibility of the results, additional data from PIAAC (Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies) and PIAAC-L were used (PIAAC-L continues PIAAC in a Germany-wide context).


Project profile

Project partners
GESIS Leibniz-Institut für Sozialwissenschaften



Jusri, R. (2019). Who trusts and who volunteers? The role of educational attainment, reading competencies, and nonverbal cognitive basic skills. LIfBi Working Paper 82. Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories.


Jusri, R., & Kleinert, C. (2018). Haben höher Gebildete mehr Sozialkapital? Ungleichheit im Zugang zu sozialen Netzwerkressourcen. Sozialer Fortschritt, 67(4), 249–268.