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IAB-SMART: Collecting Data for Labor Market Research Through a Smartphone App

Smartphones are multifunctional tools, which can be used for personal communication, planning, entertainment, information search, and many other things in our daily lives. Many people cannot imagine a life without their smartphone, and they carry them around with them all the time. The omnipresence of smartphones makes these devices interesting for researchers who want to collect data to measure human behavior through sensors built in on a smartphone.
Together with the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) we developed the IAB-SMART app to evaluate the opportunities and challenges when using smartphones for data collection in social research, more specifically on labor market research. The IAB-SMART app passively collects mobile data, such as geolocation of users, activities, social interactions, and online behavior, and launches in-app surveys. In addition, we are able to combine these data (given the user’s consents) with survey data from a longstanding panel survey (PASS) and administrative data from the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) containing the employment history of users.
The passive measures allow researchers to take a wider perspective on labor market related behavior such as home office productivity and job search strategies. Furthermore, the combination of sensor, survey and administrative data will help us to understand how (un)employment affects daily life. In addition to these substantial questions, this project helps us answer methodological research questions on the quality of the data collected through this method.

Project Team: Frauke Kreuter, Florian Keusch, Georg-Christoph Haas, Mark Trappmann (IAB), Sebastian Bähr (IAB)