Perceived Insecurity - Deprivation Anxieties and Fears of Downward Mobility in the German Population

16 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2012

See all articles by Nadine M. Schöneck

Nadine M. Schöneck

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Steffen Mau

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jürgen Schupp

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin); Institute for Sociology, Freie Universität; The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Date Written: January 1, 2012

Abstract

The question of what our economy and standard of living will look like in the future is a topic that concerns many today. This article deals with expectations for the future in the German population with regard to economic prosperity and social risks. It seeks to assess the prevalence of concerns about economic prosperity and fears of falling into precarious economic situations among the German population. To this end, various indicators of insecurity are used that measure, first, expectations of short-term social risks, and second, expectations of downward mobility. Moreover, the article addresses the deprivation anxieties and fears of downward mobility that have been claimed to plague the middle classes in Germany, and tests a hypothesis that has been put forward repeatedly in recent times: that “the middle” is suffering from increasing fears of declining social status. The analysis, which is based on data from the 2011 SOEP pretest, show large differences between current risk expectations and long-term fears of downward mobility: while the perception of short-term social risks is concentrated in lower income and status groups and decreases successively with increasing status levels, pessimism about the more distant future is much more widespread and does indeed impact negatively on segments of the social middle class. The results show that a substantial proportion of the population has lost faith in the idea of increasing prosperity and collective upward mobility.

Note: Downloadable document is in German.

Suggested Citation

Schöneck, Nadine M. and Mau, Steffen and Schupp, Juergen, Perceived Insecurity - Deprivation Anxieties and Fears of Downward Mobility in the German Population (January 1, 2012). SOEPpaper No. 428. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1992895 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1992895

Nadine M. Schöneck (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Steffen Mau

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Juergen Schupp

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, D-10117
Germany
+49 30 8 978 9238 (Phone)
+49 30 8 978 9109 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.diw.de/deutsch/das_institut/mitarbeiter/innen/26652.html?uid=jschupp

Institute for Sociology, Freie Universität ( email )

Garystr. 55
I
Berlin, D-14195
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.polsoz.fu-berlin.de/soziologie/mitarbeiter/b_hochschullehrer/schupp.html

The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/index_html?lang=de&mainframe=http%3A//www.iza.org/de/webcontent/personnel/fellows

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