IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Why do firms train apprentices? The net cost puzzle reconsidered

  • Mohrenweiser, Jens
  • Zwick, Thomas

This paper analyses the impact of increasing the share of apprentices at the cost of the share of unskilled or semi-skilled employees on establishment performance. We use representative matched employer-employee panel data and correct for estimation biases. We show that an increase of the apprentice share in trade, commercial, craft or construction occupations has a positive impact on establishment performance. Establishments that increase the apprentice share in manufacturing occupations face a negative impact on performance, however. These results shed a new light on the stylised fact that apprenticeship training always leads to net costs during the apprenticeship period in Germany: we argue that establishments only hire apprentices at a cost if their skills are relatively specific, their retention rate is high and skilled employees are hard to hire.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 16 (2009)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 631-637

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:16:y:2009:i:6:p:631-637
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Edward P. Lazear, 2003. "Firm-Specific Human Capital: A Skill-Weights Approach," NBER Working Papers 9679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jan Erik Askilden & Oivind Anti Nilsen, 2005. "Apprentices And Young Workers: A Study Of The Norwegian Youth Labour Market," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 52(1), pages 1-17, 02.
  3. Richard B. Freeman & Ronald Schettkat, 2000. "Skill Compression, Wage Differentials and Employment: Germany vs. the US," NBER Working Papers 7610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Acemoglu, Daron & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 1998. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," CEPR Discussion Papers 1833, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Bernd Fitzenberger & Aderonke Osikominu & Robert Völter, 2006. "Imputation Rules to Improve the Education Variable in the IAB Employment Subsample," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 126(3), pages 405-436.
  6. Lazear, Edward, 2003. "Firm-Specific Human Capital: A Skill-Weights Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 813, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Kessler, Anke & Lülfesmann, Christoph, 2000. "The Theory of Human Capital Revisited: On the Interaction of General and Specific Investments," CEPR Discussion Papers 2533, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Lorraine Dearden & Howard Reed & John Van Reenen, 2005. "The Impact of Training on Productivity and Wages: Evidence from British Panel Data," CEP Discussion Papers dp0674, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  9. Regula Geel & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2009. "Occupational Mobility Within and Between Skill Clusters: An Empirical Analysis Based on the Skill-Weights Approach," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0047, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  10. Thomas J. Kane & Dietmar Harhoff, 1997. "Is the German apprenticeship system a panacea for the U.S. labor market?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-196.
  11. Daron Acemoglu & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1996. "Why Do Firms Train? Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. M Arellano & O Bover, 1990. "Another Look at the Instrumental Variable Estimation of Error-Components Models," CEP Discussion Papers dp0007, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  13. Daron Acemoglu & Joern-Steffen Pischke, 1998. "Beyond Becker: Training in Imperfect Labor Markets," Working papers 98-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  14. Peter Jacobebbinghaus & Jens Mohrenweiser & Thomas Zwick, 2008. "Wie kann die durchschnittliche Ausbildungsquote in Deutschland korrekt gemessen werden?," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0034, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  15. Zwick, Thomas, 2007. "Apprenticeship training in Germany - investment or productivity driven?," Zeitschrift für ArbeitsmarktForschung - Journal for Labour Market Research, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany], vol. 40(2/3), pages 193-204.
  16. David Roodman, 2006. "How to Do xtabond2," North American Stata Users' Group Meetings 2006 8, Stata Users Group.
  17. Wolter, Stefan C. & Mühlemann, Samuel & Schweri, Jürg, 2003. "Why Some Firms Train Apprentices and Many Others Do Not," IZA Discussion Papers 916, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Katz, Eliakim & Ziderman, Adrian, 1990. "Investment in General Training: The Role of Information and Labour Mobility," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(403), pages 1147-58, December.
  19. Blundell, R. & Bond, S., 1995. "Initial Conditions and Moment Restrictions in Dynamic Panel Data Models," Economics Papers 104, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  20. Chang, Chun & Wang, Yijiang, 1996. "Human Capital Investment under Asymmetric Information: The Pigovian Conjecture Revisited," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(3), pages 505-19, July.
  21. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  22. Berthold, Norbert & Fehn, Rainer, 1998. "Die zehn Gebote der Arbeitsmarktpolitik," Discussion Paper Series 21, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Chair of Economic Order and Social Policy.
  23. Christian Dustmann & Uta Schönberg, 2009. "Training and Union Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 363-376, May.
  24. Zwick, Thomas, 2004. "Employee participation and productivity," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(6), pages 715-740, December.
  25. Alda, Holger, 2005. "Datenbeschreibung der Version 1 des LIAB-Längsschnittmodells (LIAB Longitudinal Model Version 1 - Data Description)," FDZ Datenreport. Documentation on Labour Market Data 200503_de, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  26. Hilary Steedman, 2001. "Benchmarking Apprenticeship: UK and Continental Europe Compared," CEP Discussion Papers dp0513, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  27. Jens Mohrenweiser & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2008. "Apprenticeship Training – What for? Investment in Human Capital or Substitute for Cheap Labour?," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0017, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  28. Jacobebbinghaus, Peter, 2008. "LIAB-Datenhandbuch, Version 3.0," FDZ Datenreport. Documentation on Labour Market Data 200803_de, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  29. Windmeijer, Frank, 2005. "A finite sample correction for the variance of linear efficient two-step GMM estimators," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 25-51, May.
  30. David Soskice, 1994. "Reconciling Markets and Institutions: The German Apprenticeship System," NBER Chapters, in: Training and the Private Sector: International Comparisons, pages 25-60 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Paul Ryan & Howard Gospel & Paul Lewis, 2007. "Large Employers and Apprenticeship Training in Britain," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 45(1), pages 127-153, 03.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:16:y:2009:i:6:p:631-637. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.