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How young workers get their training: A survey of Germany versus the United States


  • Rainer Winkelmann

    () (University of Canterbury, Department of Economics, PB4800, Christchurch, New Zealand)


The recent economic literature on the incidence of various forms of post-secondary on-the-job and off-the-job training in Germany and the United States, as well as on the effects of training on wages, inequality, and labor mobility is surveyed. Young workers in Germany receive substantially more company-based (apprenticeship) training than United States workers. In the United States, high turnover deters firms from investing in general skills while it results in improved job matches. The received literature consents that key institutional elements required to make the German apprenticeship system work are absent in the United States. JEL classification: I2, J3, J24

Suggested Citation

  • Rainer Winkelmann, 1997. "How young workers get their training: A survey of Germany versus the United States," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 10(2), pages 159-170.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:10:y:1997:i:2:p:159-170
    Note: Received December 14, 1995 / Accepted February 19, 1996 received literature consents that key institutional elements required to make the German apprenticeship system work are absent in the United States. JEL classification: I2, J3, J24

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Boom, Anette, 2005. "Firms' investments in general training and the skilled labour market," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(6), pages 781-805, December.
    2. McIntosh, Steven, 1999. "A cross-country comparison of the determinants of vocational training," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20213, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Pierre Cahuc & Stéphane Carcillo & Ulf Rinne & Klaus Zimmermann, 2013. "Youth unemployment in old Europe: the polar cases of France and Germany," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-23, December.
    4. Anette Boom, "undated". "Firms' Investments in General Training and the Market for Skilled Labour," Papers 013, Departmental Working Papers.
    5. Christian Dustmann & Uta Schönberg, 2009. "Training and Union Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 363-376, May.
    6. Bornemann, Stefan, 2005. "Spillovers in Vocational Training," Discussion Papers in Economics 693, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    7. Franz, Wolfgang & Inkmann, Joachim & Pohlmeier, Winfried & Zimmermann, Volker, 1997. "Young and out in Germany: On the youths' chances of labor market entrance in Germany," Discussion Papers 40, University of Konstanz, Center for International Labor Economics (CILE).
    8. Euwals, R.W., 1997. "Empirical studies on individual labour market behaviour," Other publications TiSEM 0ccdaeec-7067-453e-a450-b, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    9. Lindner, Axel, 1998. "Modelling the German system of vocational education," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 411-423, December.
    10. Schröder, Lena, 2004. "The role of youth programmes in the transition from school to work," Working Paper Series 2004:5, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    11. Korpi, Tomas & Mertens, Antje, 2002. "Training systems and labor mobility: A comparison between Germany and Sweden," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2002,19, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
    12. Holger Alda & Lutz Bellmann & Hermann Gartner, 2009. "Wage Structure and Labor Mobility in the West German Private Sector, 1993-2000," NBER Chapters,in: The Structure of Wages: An International Comparison, pages 261-313 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Andrew Sharpe & James Gibson, 2005. "The Apprenticeship System in Canada: Trends and Issues," CSLS Research Reports 2005-04, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
    14. Christian Dustmann & Uta Schönberg, 2012. "What Makes Firm-Based Vocational Training Schemes Successful? The Role of Commitment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 36-61, April.

    More about this item


    Vocational training · apprenticeship · earnings;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity


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