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Labour, law and training in early modern London: apprenticeship and the city’s institutions

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  • Patrick Wallis

Abstract

Successful apprenticeship is often explained by effective contract enforcement. But what happened when enforcement was weak? This paper reveals that within early modern London, England’s dominant centre for training, the city’s court provided apprentices with near automatic exits from their indentures, and allowed them to recover a share of their premium, reflecting faults and time served. Between 3 and 8 percent of apprentices received court discharges. Easy dissolution was a response to unstable contracts. By supplying a straightforward mechanism to cut legal ties, the city reduced the risks surrounding apprenticeship and facilitated London’s rapid expansion.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/41172/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History in its series Economic History Working Papers with number 41172.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:41172

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Postal: LSE, Dept. of Economic History Houghton Street London, WC2A 2AE, U.K.
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7955 7084
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/economicHistory/
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