Working Paper BETA #2017-10

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Title : The Power of Big Data: Historical Time Series on German Education

Author(s) : Claude Diebolt, Gabriele Franzmann, Ralph Hippe, Jürgen Sensch

Abstract : Numerous primary investigators collected and processed long termed time series on German educational statistics in the context of their studies. As a result there are a multitude of quantitative empirical studies. On the one hand there is the project group on German Educational Statistics. Its projects were targeted at describing and analysing the long-term structural changes of the German educational system on a broad empirical and statistical basis. On the other hand there are comprehensive data compilations of individual research projects, focusing on a wide variety of special educational research topics. The online database ‘histat’ provides central digital access to these datasets on German educational history. Currently, it offers more than 120,000 long-term time series on the German educational system for a period of 200 years. The striking size of the database shows its key importance for researchers in the field of education. Thus, this paper aims to provide useful insights into the background of the database, the special characteristics of the data compilations and their analytical potential. Additionally, examples are given of how the data have already been used by researchers.

Key-words : Big Data, Cliometrics, Demography, Education, Germany.

JEL Classification : C81, C82, C83, I2, J11, N33, N34.