GSB 7.1 Standardlösung

German Emigration and Remigration Panel Study (GERPS)

This project is carried out in close cooperation between the Universität Duisburg-Essen and the Federal Institute for Population Research.

Content and Objectives

In knowledge-based Western industrial societies, international migration has become an essential condition for economic growth and is increasingly gaining importance at the individual level when it comes to the distribution of social positions and life opportunities. The aim of the research project is to examine the individual consequences of international migration with respect to the further course of life based on the example of emigration from Germany and remigration to Germany. Do temporary or even long-term stays abroad actually contribute to a successful professional life? Is spatial immobility related to lower life chances and social exclusion?

The project investigates the consequences of international migration in the light of traditional differentiations of social structure analysis and inequality research according to four dimensions of the life course, such as employment and income, well-being and life satisfaction, relationship and family, as well as social relations and social participation. Whereas migration research has traditionally focused on the integration of immigrants into the host society, the German Emigration and Remigration Panel Study examines the consequences of mobility by comparing it with the non-mobile population of the society of origin and as results of individual life courses.

Data and Methods

The project was intensively developed in terms of methodology by a feasibility study carried out between 2013 and 2015 as part of the project Reasons to Emigrate from Germany. For the first time, GERPS is intended to provide an empirical basis for investigating the consequences of international migration on the life course. It is based on the survey of emigrants and homecomers with German citizenship between the ages of 20 and 70 who migrated worldwide in the twelve months prior to the survey. The first survey wave is scheduled for the end of 2018. The analysis potentials are additionally increased by the comparability with the data of the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) as data basis for the non-mobile population.

Emigration from Germany and remigration to Germany are events causing far-reaching consequences for the various dimensions of a person's life course. They often lead to numerous processes of change and adaptation in the new life context of people who are internationally mobile. The investigation of these individual consequences calls for a longitudinal research design, since on this basis only clear causal sequences and directions of action between different variables can be identified. Likewise, it will only be possible to understand and explain the dynamics of international migration processes and their consequences by measuring key target variables several times within a comparatively short period of time. For this reason, four survey waves are planned until 2021.

The data generated within the scope of the GERPS project are extensively documented and made available to other scientists as part of scientific-use files shortly after the respective data was collected.


Since 2018


Project team at the Universität Duisburg-Essen:

  • Prof. Dr. Marcel Erlinghagen
  • Dr. Jean Philippe Pierre Décieux

Scientific advisory board in support of long-term continuity and content advancement of the project:

  • Prof. Dr. Claudia Diehl, Universität Konstanz
  • Prof. Dr. Bernhard Nauck, Universität Chemnitz
  • Dr. Cornelia Schu, Sachverständigenrat deutscher Stiftungen für Integration und Migration, Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. Gert G. Wagner, Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung and Technische Universität Berlin


This project is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) under the project number 345626236.


Forschungsbereich beim Sachverständigenrat deutscher Stiftungen für Integration und Migration; Bundesinstitut für Bevölkerungsforschung; Lehrstuhl für Empirische Sozialstrukturanalyse an der Universität Duisburg-Essen (Eds.) (2015):

Studie des SVR-Forschungsbereichs 2015-1. Berlin.

Ette, Andreas; Sauer, Lenore; Scheller, Friedrich; Bekalarczyk, Dawid; Erlinghagen, Marcel; Engler, Marcus; Schneider, Jan; Schultz, Caroline (2015):

BiB Daten- und Methodenberichte 1/2015. Wiesbaden: Bundesinstitut für Bevölkerungsforschung.

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