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Networks in the Premodern Economy: the Market for London Apprenticeships, 1600-1749

  • Tim Leunig
  • Chris Minns
  • Patrick Wallis

This paper examines the importance of social and geographical networks in structuring entry into skilled occupations in premodern London. Using newly digitised records of those beginning an apprenticeship in London between 1600 and 1749, we find little evidence that networks strongly shaped apprentice recruitment. The typical London apprentice did not have an identifiable connection to his master in the form of a kin link, shared name, or shared place or county of origin. The majority of migrant apprentices' fathers came from outside of the craft sector. Our results suggest that the market for apprenticeship was strikingly open: well-to-do families of all types were able to access a wide range of craft and trade apprenticeships, and would-be apprentices had considerable scope to match their perceived ability and aptitude to opportunity.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0956.

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Date of creation: Nov 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0956
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. Giorgio Topa & Stephen Ross & Patrick Bayer, 2005. "Place of Work and Place of Residence: Informal Hiring Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," Working Papers 05-23, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. Galor, Oded & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1996. "Technological Progress, Mobility, and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1413, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2004. "Guilds, efficiency, and social capital: evidence from German proto-industry," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 57(2), pages 286-333, 05.
  4. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1990. "The Allocation of Talent: Implicationsfor Growth," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 65, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  5. Chris Minns & Patrick Wallis, 2009. "Rules and reality: quantifying the practice of apprenticeship in early modern Europe," Economic History Working Papers 27865, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  6. Patrick Wallis, 2007. "Apprenticeship and training in premodern England," Economic History Working Papers 22515, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  7. Dudley Baines, 1994. "European emigration, 1815-1930: looking at the emigration decision again," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 47(3), pages 525-544, 08.
  8. Epstein, S. R., 1998. "Craft Guilds, Apprenticeship, and Technological Change in Preindustrial Europe," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(03), pages 684-713, September.
  9. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks In The Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants In The U.S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599, May.
  10. Horrell Sara & Humphries Jane, 1995. "The Exploitation of Little Children: Child Labor and the Family Economy in the Industrial Revolution," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 485-516, October.
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