ACSPRI Conferences, RC33 Eighth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

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Cadre and Elites? Career Trajectories of Socialist Elites after the Breakdown of the SED-Regime. An Application of Statistical Matching.

Ronald Gebauer

Building: Law Building
Room: Breakout 9 - Law Building, Room 102
Date: 2012-07-12 03:30 PM – 05:00 PM
Last modified: 2012-01-25


In recent years, there has been much research on Socialist Elites and the conditions for a suc-cessful continuance of their careers even after the collapse of the communist SED-regime in 1989. With regard to the career trajectories under communist rule the author and his col-leagues has been in the fortunate position to analyze elite data (Central Cadre Database, CCDB), collected by the regime itself (n=698.566). This research reveals an inequality struc-ture far more differentiated than anticipated in the West before the decline of state socialism. Thus, the basic steps of the “socialist” career ladder consisted not only in the ideological in-volvement, e.g. SED-party memberships and excellent professional or vocational degrees, but also of social traits contrary to the official communist doctrine, like social origins from the formerly privileged classes (bourgeoisie) or a national socialist entanglement of the parents. But how could the cadres of late socialism continue their careers after 1989/1990? In this re-spect, on the one hand, past research proves a considerable extent of career interruptions or disruptions in the early 1990s. On the other hand, there is also evidence of career continuity.
However, it is not easy to fill this research gap because there is almost no data base that mir-rors both, pre-1989 life courses and their continuances after the system collapse. In this re-spect, the opportunity will be discussed to match data from different sources by approaches of “Statistical Matching” or “Data Fusion” as has already been practiced by the author and his colleagues by fusing data of the Central Cadre Data Base and data of the Socio-Economic Panel, a longitudinal sample, that has been extended to the GDR already in 1990. The contri-bution to the conference, first, will focus on the advantages and disadvantages of the matching approach that consisted in a linkage of both data sources by applying the Mahalanobis distance matching method (on the base of a set of several variables common to both): Although, merging data this way appears promising, not all the results are satisfying. Apart from evaluating the validity of data fusion, nevertheless, fused data might be useful as additionally source of information. Therefore, second, the possibility of taking into account pre-1990 data for the analysis of careers in the early 1990’s (by applying approaches of Event History Analysis) will be discussed.