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Flexible Supply of Apprenticeship in the British Industrial Revolution

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  • Zeev, Nadav Ben
  • Mokyr, Joel
  • van der Beek, Karine

Abstract

We use annual information on apprenticeships in England between 1710–1805 to estimate the dynamic supply-responsiveness in this market in the presence of the increasingly powerful technological shocks as the Industrial Revolution proceeded apace. Using both an Instrumental Variable method and a dynamic Vector Autoregression framework (VAR) system to identify the long-run response functions, we find evidence of an elastic supply, sufficiently high as to allow quantities to rise considerably in response to demand shocks. This finding lends support to the view that Britain's apprenticeship institution was the source of its advantage in skilled mechanical labor, so critical to its economic success.

Suggested Citation

  • Zeev, Nadav Ben & Mokyr, Joel & van der Beek, Karine, 2017. "Flexible Supply of Apprenticeship in the British Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 77(1), pages 208-250, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:77:y:2017:i:01:p:208-250_00
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    Cited by:

    1. Claude Diebolt & Charlotte Chapelain & Audrey Rose Menard, 2021. "Neither the elite, nor the mass. The rise of intermediate human capital during the French industrialization process," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 15(1), pages 167-202, January.
    2. Nuvolari, Alessandro & Tartari, Valentina & Tranchero, Matteo, 2019. "Patterns of innovation during the industrial revolution: a reappraisal using a composite indicator of patent quality," CEPR Discussion Papers 13958, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Pencho Penchev, 2017. "Of the Essence and Meaning of Economic History," Proceedings of the Centre for Economic History Research, Centre for Economic History Research, vol. 2, pages 9-34, November.
    4. Alexandra de Pleijt & Alessandro Nuvolari & Jacob Weisdorf, 2020. "Human Capital Formation During the First Industrial Revolution: Evidence from the use of Steam Engines," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 829-889.
    5. 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.
    6. James Harrigan & Ariell Reshef & Farid Toubal, 2018. "Techies, Trade, and Skill-Biased Productivity," NBER Working Papers 25295, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Philip T. Hoffman, 2020. "The Great Divergence: Why Britain Industrialised First," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 60(2), pages 126-147, July.
    8. Cormac Ó Gráda, 2018. "Notes on Guilds on the Eve of the French Revoloution," Working Papers 201804, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    9. Francisco J. Beltrán Tapia & Alfonso Díez-Minguela & Julio Martinez-Galarraga & Daniel A. Tirado-Fabregat, 2018. "Two stories, one fate: Age-heaping and literacy in Spain, 1877-1930," Working Papers 0139, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    10. Morgan Kelly & Joel Mokyr & Cormac Ó Gráda, 2020. "The Mechanics of the Industrial Revolution," Working Papers 202016, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    11. William F. Maloney & Felipe Valencia Caicedo, 2017. "Engineering Growth: Innovative Capacity and Development in the Americas," CESifo Working Paper Series 6339, CESifo.
    12. Giovanni Federico & Alessandro Nuvolari & Leonardo Ridolfi & Michelangelo Vasta, 2021. "The race between the snail and the tortoise: skill premium and early industrialization in Italy (1861–1913)," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 15(1), pages 1-42, January.
    13. Matthias Doepke & Joel Mokyr & David de la Croix, 2013. "Apprenticeship and Technological Progress in the Malthusian World," 2013 Meeting Papers 76, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. 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.

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