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The price of human capital in a pre-industrial economy: Premiums and apprenticeship contracts in 18th century England

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  • Minns, Chris
  • Wallis, Patrick

Abstract

Training through apprenticeship provided the main mechanism for occupational human capital formation in pre-industrial England. This paper demonstrates how training premiums (fees) complemented the formal legal framework surrounding apprenticeship to secure training contracts. Premiums varied in response to scarcity rents, the expected productivity of masters and apprentices, and served as compensation for the anticipated risk of default. In most trades premiums were small enough to allow access to apprenticeship training for youths from modest families.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Explorations in Economic History.

Volume (Year): 50 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 335-350

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Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:50:y:2013:i:3:p:335-350

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622830

Related research

Keywords: Apprenticeship; Training; 18th century England;

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References

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  1. Wallis, Patrick, 2008. "Apprenticeship and Training in Premodern England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(03), pages 832-861, September.
  2. Go, Sun & Lindert, Peter, 2010. "The Uneven Rise of American Public Schools to 1850," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 70(01), pages 1-26, March.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1998. "Beyond Becker: Training in Imperfect Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 6740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Chris Minns & Patrick Wallis, 2012. "Rules and reality: quantifying the practice of apprenticeship in early modern England," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 65(2), pages 556-579, 05.
  5. Tim Leunig & Chris Minns & Patrick Wallis, 2009. "Networks in the Premodern Economy: the Market for London Apprenticeships, 1600-1749," CEP Discussion Papers dp0956, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  6. Allen, Robert C., 2001. "The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 411-447, October.
  7. Chris Minns & Patrick Wallis, 2011. "Why did (pre‐industrial) firms train?: premiums and apprenticeship contracts in 18th century England," Economic History Working Papers 41348, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  8. Gregory Clark, 2005. "The Condition of the Working Class in England, 1209-2004," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1307-1340, December.
  9. Epstein, S. R., 1998. "Craft Guilds, Apprenticeship, and Technological Change in Preindustrial Europe," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(03), pages 684-713, September.
  10. Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2004. "Guilds, efficiency, and social capital: evidence from German proto-industry," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 57(2), pages 286-333, 05.
  11. Hamilton, Gillian, 1996. "The Market for Montreal Apprentices: Contract Length and Information," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 496-523, October.
  12. Grassby,Richard, 1995. "The Business Community of Seventeenth-Century England," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521434508.
  13. Galenson, David W, 1981. "The Market Evaluation of Human Capital: The Case of Indentured Servitude," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(3), pages 446-67, June.
  14. Voth, Hans-Joachim, 2001. "The Longest Years: New Estimates Of Labor Input In England, 1760 1830," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(04), pages 1065-1082, December.
  15. Van Zanden, Jan Luiten, 2009. "The skill premium and the ‘Great Divergence’," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(01), pages 121-153, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Karine van der Beek & Moshe Justman, 2013. "Market Forces Shaping Human Capital in Eighteenth Century London," Working Papers 2013-014, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  2. Moshe Justman & Karine van der Beek, 2013. "Market Forces Shaping Human Capital in Eighteenth Century London," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2013n28, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  3. Moshe Justman & Karine van der Beck, 2013. "Market Forces Shaping Human Capital In Eighteenth Century London," Working Papers 1317, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.

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