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Networks in the Premodern Economy: The Market for London Apprenticeships, 1600–1749

  • Leunig, Tim
  • Minns, Chris
  • Wallis, Patrick

We examine the role of social and geographical networks in structuring entry into premodern London's skilled occupations. Newly digitized apprenticeship indenture records for 1600–1749 offer little evidence that personal ties strongly shaped apprentice recruitment. The typical London apprentices had no identifiable tie to their master through kin or place of origin. Migrant apprentices' fathers were generally outside the craft sector. The apprenticeship market was strikingly open: well-to-do families accessed a wide range of apprenticeships, and would-be apprentices could match ability and aptitude to opportunity. This fluidity aided human capital formation, with obvious implications for economic development.

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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 71 (2011)
Issue (Month): 02 (June)
Pages: 413-443

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:71:y:2011:i:02:p:413-443_00
Contact details of provider: Postal: Cambridge University Press, UPH, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 8BS UK
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  1. Patrick Bayer & Stephen L. Ross & Giorgio Topa, 2004. "Place of Work and Place of Residence: Informal Hiring Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," Working papers 2004-07, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2005.
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  6. Horrell Sara & Humphries Jane, 1995. "The Exploitation of Little Children: Child Labor and the Family Economy in the Industrial Revolution," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 485-516, October.
  7. Chris Minns & Patrick Wallis, 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks In The Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants In The U.S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599, May.
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