Qualitative Sozialforschung




Between Self employment and social welfare. Analysing "Einstiegsgeld" – a public aid for business start-ups.

Research Project

In the course of labour market reforms in Germany "Einstiegsgeld" was introduced as a new measure in 2005. As an "activating scheme" it aims to support recipients of unemployment benefit II to end their dependency on public welfare and start their own business.

The combination of means-tested social benefit and start-up subsidy is a highly complex and contradictory task for the institution as well as for people anticipating self-employment. The research project thus seeks to clarify how organisational and individual practices interact in the handling of this scheme of support.

The research project aims to analyse the implementation of the start-up subsidy in the Social Code II and is conducted in cooperation with the Institute for Employment Research in Nuremberg (IAB), the Institute for Social Science Research Munich (ISF) and the Institute of Sociology at the LMU.

The focus of the sub-project located at the Institute of Sociology lies in examining the context of founding a business and the biographical backgrounds of people starting a business. In the analysis we shed light on the question what kind of conditions people need in order to start a business successfully. We assume this is a demanding task for some people receiving social benefits since their financial means are limited and they might experience insecurities regarding their professional self employment skills.

Data will be collected using expert interviews with managers of Jobcenters and start-up consultants, problem centered interviews with caseworkers, narrative interviews with founding recipients and observations of interactions between caseworkers and persons receiving foundation aid. The sub-project conducted by the Institute of Sociology will focus on 50 narrative interviews with recipients conducted shortly after the interviewee was accepted as a recipient of the subsidy and 30 months after founding a business. While the expert and problem centered interviews will be analysed by content analysis, the narrative interviews will be interpreted following the logic of biographical case reconstruction. Regarding the observations we will develop interaction case studies.

Project team:

Lisa Abbenhardt

Project partner:

Hans J. Pongratz (ISF München)

Stefan Bernhard (IAB Nuremberg)

Project duration:

07/2011 - 12/2013


Institute for Employment Research (IAB) of the German Federal Employment Agency in Nuremberg