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Apprenticeship and Training in Premodern England

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  • WALLIS, PATRICK

Abstract

This article reexamines the economics of premodern apprenticeship in England. I present new data showing that a high proportion of apprenticeships in seventeenth-century London ended before the term of service was finished. I then propose a new account of how training costs and repayments were distributed over the apprenticeship contract such that neither master nor apprentice risked significant loss from early termination. This new account fits both the characteristics of premodern apprenticeship and what is known about the acquisition of skills in modern and premodern societies.

Suggested Citation

  • Wallis, Patrick, 2008. "Apprenticeship and Training in Premodern England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(3), pages 832-861, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:68:y:2008:i:03:p:832-861_00
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thrupp, Sylvia L., 1942. "Medieval Gilds Reconsidered," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(2), pages 164-173, November.
    2. Stevens, Margaret, 1994. "A Theoretical Model of On-the-Job Training with Imperfect Competition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(4), pages 537-562, October.
    3. Malcomson, James M. & Maw, James W. & McCormick, Barry, 2003. "General training by firms, apprentice contracts, and public policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 197-227, April.
    4. Elbaum, Bernard, 1989. "Why Apprenticeship Persisted in Britain But Not in the United States," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(2), pages 337-349, June.
    5. Grubb, Farley, 2000. "The Statutory Regulation of Colonial Servitude: An Incomplete-Contract Approach," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 42-75, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. de Pleijt, Alexandra M., 2015. "Human capital and long run economic growth : Evidence from the stock of human capital in England, 1300-1900," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 229, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    2. Jedwab, Remi & Johnson, Noel & Koyama, Mark, 2020. "The Economic Impact of the Black Death," CEPR Discussion Papers 15132, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Jakob Brochner Madsen, 2016. "Human Accomplishment and Growth in Britain since 1270: The Role of Great Scientists and Education," Monash Economics Working Papers 01-16, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    4. Moshe Justman & Karine Beek, 2015. "Market forces shaping human capital in eighteenth-century London," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(4), pages 1177-1202, November.
    5. Bardsley, Peter & Erkal, Nisvan & Nikiforakis, Nikos & Wilkening, Tom, 2013. "Recursive contracts, firm longevity, and rat races: An experimental analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 217-231.
    6. 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.
    7. Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2014. "The Economics of Guilds," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 169-192, Fall.
    8. David de la Croix & Matthias Doepke & Joel Mokyr, 2018. "Clans, Guilds, and Markets: Apprenticeship Institutions and Growth in the Preindustrial Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 133(1), pages 1-70.
    9. Morgan Kelly & Joel Mokyr & Cormac Ó Gráda, 2014. "Precocious Albion: A New Interpretation of the British Industrial Revolution," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 363-389, August.
    10. Alysa Levene, 2010. "Parish apprenticeship and the old poor law in London," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(4), pages 915-941, November.
    11. Alexandra M. de Pleijt, 2018. "Human capital formation in the long run: evidence from average years of schooling in England, 1300–1900," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 12(1), pages 99-126, January.
    12. Marc Klemp & Chris Minns & Patrick Wallis & Jacob Weisdorf, 2013. "Picking winners? The effect of birth order and migration on parental human capital investments in pre-modern England," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(2), pages 210-232, May.
    13. Ralf Meisenzahl & Joel Mokyr, 2011. "The Rate and Direction of Invention in the British Industrial Revolution: Incentives and Institutions," NBER Working Papers 16993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Minns, Chris & Wallis, Patrick, 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.
    15. Ralph Hippe & Roger Fouquet, 2015. "The human capital transition and the role of policy," GRI Working Papers 185, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    16. Karine van der Beek, "undated". "England's Eighteenth Century Demand for High-Quality Workmanship: Evidence from Apprenticeship, 1710-1770," Working Papers 2013-015, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    17. Feldman, Naomi E. & van der Beek, Karine, 2016. "Skill choice and skill complementarity in eighteenth century England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 94-113.
    18. Ralf R. Meisenzahl & Joel Mokyr, 2011. "The Rate and Direction of Invention in the British Industrial Revolution: Incentives and Institutions," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity Revisited, pages 443-479, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Claude Diebolt & Roger Fouquet & Ralph Hippe, 2020. "Cliometrics and the Evolution of Human Capital," Post-Print hal-02920429, HAL.
    20. Minns, Chris & Wallis, Patrick, 2009. "Rules and reality: quantifying the practice of apprenticeship in early modern Europe," Economic History Working Papers 27865, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    21. Minns, Chris & Wallis, Patrick, 2013. "The price of human capital in a pre-industrial economy: Premiums and apprenticeship contracts in 18th century England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 335-350.
    22. James Foreman‐Peck & Peng Zhou, 2018. "Late marriage as a contributor to the industrial revolution in England," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1073-1099, November.
    23. Ruben Schalk, 2016. "Apprenticeships and craft guilds in the Netherlands, 1600–1900," Working Papers 0080, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
    24. Èric Gómez-i-Aznar, 2019. "Human capital at the beginnings of the 18th century Catalonia: age-heaping and numeracy in a changing economy," Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) 1904, Asociación Española de Historia Económica.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B1 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe

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