LabFam Individual Biographies (LIB)

LabFam Individual Biographies (LIB): open science project that harmonizes family and employment histories


LiB is an open science project which aims at harmonising family and employment histories from longitudinal databases from several countries. We construct spell data for individuals along three different life dimensions: 

fertility, which records the number and timing of births 

partnership, which records the timing of union formation and union dissolution

employment, which collects data on employment spells and characteristics of the jobs held, when available. 

This information is drawn from available longitudinal surveys, utilizing their panel components, calendar modules and retrospective questionnaires. 

The aim of our project is to provide an open-source code that harmonizes the most commonly used household panel surveys including:

  • Germany: SOEP (German Socio-Economic Panel)
  • Switzerland: SHP (Swiss Household Panel)
  • United Kingdom: BHPS/UKHLS (British Household Panel Survey; Understanding Society –UK Household Longitudinal Study)
  • Italy: FSS (Family and Social Subjects Survey)
  • United States: PSID (Panel Study of Income Dynamics)
  • Australia: HILDA (Household, Income and Labor Dynamics in Australia Survey)

The project extends the Comparative Panel File (CPF), which harmonizes world major panel surveys, by providing the possibility to study family and employment transitions over the life course. 

LIB is :

Innovative –  for the first time the attention is given to individual life-course trajectories

Comprehensive –  utilizes panel, calendar and retrospective questionnaires

Open – the code (in R) will be provided to lower the entry barriers into longitudinal analysis. 

Flexible – allows choosing time span, set of countries and dimension of individual biographies, any further modification/extension

Compatible – with other already available harmonized datasets, like CPF (Turek et al., 2021)

Currently, LIB is still work in-progress endeavor developed by LabFam researchers from University of Warsaw: Ewa Weychert, Beata Osiewalska, Lucas van der Velde, Anna Matysiak

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