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General human capital and employment adjustment in the Great Depression: apprentices and journeymen in UK engineering

  • Robert A. Hart

The relationship between training and firm-level employment adjustment given an unanticipated fall in product demand has been central to human capital theory. The most cataclysmic negative output shock occurred in 1929-30. At this time, easily the most important source of United Kingdom general training was the apprenticeship system. Using data collected by the Engineering Employers' Federation (EEF), this paper examines the impact of the Great Depression on numbers of apprentices and skilled journeymen. Statistics cover eight skilled engineering occupations in 27 local labour markets over the period 1928--38. Relative employment adjustment responses of apprentices and journeymen accord well with general human capital arguments. Copyright 2005, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Economic Papers.

Volume (Year): 57 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 169-189

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:57:y:2005:i:1:p:169-189
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  1. Ben S. Bernanke & James L. Powell, 1984. "The Cyclical Behavior of Industrial Labor Markets: A Comparison of the Pre-War and Post-War Eras," NBER Working Papers 1376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-38, May.
  3. Bean, Charles R., 1990. "Endogenous growth and the procyclical behaviour of productivity," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(2-3), pages 355-363, May.
  4. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1993. "Productivity growth and the structure of the business cycle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 861-883, May.
  5. repec:oup:restud:v:58:y:1991:i:2:p:277-97 is not listed on IDEAS
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