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