Data access and data protection

Procedure for requesting PHF data

Use of the anonymised PHF data can be requested for research projects. To do this, researchers must complete an application form and send it to the Research Data and Service Centre of the Deutsche Bundesbank, along with other documents. The data must not be used for any commercial purposes.

The research data file is anonymised with the aim of rendering re-identification of households or persons impossible. Besides deleting all personal identifiers, the process involves recoding or grouping and top-coding of some variables, especially coarsening any regional information. Job and employment descriptions are coarsened to the second digit of ISCO and the first digit of NACE, respectively. Most values denominated in euro, such as variables for income, assets, liabilities etc., are random-rounded. Age is top-coded at 90. Ages 70+ are disturbed by small stochastic error terms.

I) Required documentation

  1. Completed research data request form (for details see section II)
  2. Curriculum vitae
  3. Completed and signed certification document (for details see section III)

It may be useful to include other documents relating to the research project or any third-party funding of the project.

II) Research data request form

The request form for data access can be downloaded from this website. The form is a PDF file which you can complete and save on your PC using Acrobat Reader.

Each researcher involved in a project and wishing to use the PHF data must complete a separate application form. The lead researcher in the project needs to complete the form in full. All additional researchers are required to complete sections 1, 6, 7 and 9 only.

When filling out the research data request form, please make sure you complete all mandatory fields (these will depend partly on your answers to preceding questions). To ensure the fields to be completed are displayed correctly, you need to enable JavaScript as well as the option “Highlight fields” (“Felder markieren”) in Acrobat Reader.

Please send the completed application form to fdsz‑

In addition to the completed research data request form, please send your curriculum vitae by e-mail.

Once we have received your application by e-mail, we will send you a confirmation e-mail stating the project number, which should be used in any further correspondence.

As the research data request form contains personal information, we advise you to send it to us as an encrypted e-mail attachment.

Similarly, we recommend that you encrypt any other documents containing personal information that you send to the Deutsche Bundesbank via e-mail (e.g. the curriculum vitae).

We recommend that you use 7zip encryption software, which can be downloaded free of charge from:

Instructions on how to encrypt documents using 7zip software can be found at the end of this document (section V).

Please inform us of the password required to decrypt the files by telephone or fax using the numbers listed under "Contact" in the right-hand column.

III) Certification document

The document can be downloaded from this website. The document is a standard PDF file which you must print out, as the completed form cannot be saved in Acrobat Reader.

Once your application has been accepted by the Deutsche Bundesbank, you must fill in and sign the certification document. Please enter the date on which you sent the final application for data access (research data request form) to the Deutsche Bundesbank.

Separate certification documents are required for all researchers working on a project and wishing to use the PHF data (these can all be sent to the Deutsche Bundesbank together in one envelope).

Please send the completed certification document by post to the address you find in the right-hand column.

IV) Data transfer

As soon as your application has been approved and we have received your signed certification document, we will send the encrypted PHF research data record, consisting of several Stata files, to the e-mail address provided on your “research data request form”.

To decrypt the files, you will need archiving software that can extract .zip files (eg 7zip) and the corresponding password. You will be informed of the password by telephone or fax following prior arrangement.

V) Encrypting documents with 7zip

  • Once 7zip has been installed, mark all the files to be encrypted (alternatively, save them in a new folder).
  • Right-click on the marked files or on the new folder and select: 7zip -> add to archive
  • A menu window will open. In the drop-down menu, under "Archive format", select "zip".
  • Enter the password for the encryption in the "Enter password" and "Re-enter password” fields.
  • For the “Encryption method” select “AES-256”.
  • Click “OK”.
  • A .zip archive will be created containing the encrypted files.

Please inform us of the password required to decrypt the files by telephone or fax using the numbers listed under "Contact" in the right-hand column.