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Apprenticeship and training in premodern England

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  • Wallis, Patrick

Abstract

This paper re-examines the economics of premodern apprenticeship in England. I present new data showing that a high proportion of apprenticeships in seventeenth century London ended before the term of service was finished. I then propose a new account of how training costs and repayments were distributed over the apprenticeship contract such that neither master or apprentice risked significant loss from early termination. This new account fits with the characteristics of premodern apprenticeship, as well as with what is known about the acquisition of skills in modern and premodern societies.

Suggested Citation

  • Wallis, Patrick, 2007. "Apprenticeship and training in premodern England," Economic History Working Papers 22515, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:22515
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/22515/
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Thrupp, Sylvia L., 1942. "Medieval Gilds Reconsidered," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(02), pages 164-173, November.
    2. Malcomson, James M. & Maw, James W. & McCormick, Barry, 2003. "General training by firms, apprentice contracts, and public policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 197-227, April.
    3. Stevens, Margaret, 1994. "A Theoretical Model of On-the-Job Training with Imperfect Competition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(4), pages 537-562, October.
    4. Elbaum, Bernard, 1989. "Why Apprenticeship Persisted in Britain But Not in the United States," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(02), pages 337-349, June.
    5. Grubb, Farley, 2000. "The Statutory Regulation of Colonial Servitude: An Incomplete-Contract Approach," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 42-75, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jakob Brochner Madsen, 2016. "Human Accomplishment and Growth in Britain since 1270: The Role of Great Scientists and Education," Monash Economics Working Papers 01-16, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    2. Moshe Justman & Karine Beek, 2015. "Market forces shaping human capital in eighteenth-century London," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(4), pages 1177-1202, November.
    3. Alysa Levene, 2010. "Parish apprenticeship and the old poor law in London," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(4), pages 915-941, November.
    4. Morgan Kelly & Joel Mokyr & Cormac Ó Gráda, 2014. "Precocious Albion: A New Interpretation of the British Industrial Revolution," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 363-389, August.
    5. repec:spr:cliomt:v:12:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11698-016-0156-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Leunig, Tim & Minns, Chris & Wallis, Patrick, 2011. "Networks in the Premodern Economy: The Market for London Apprenticeships, 1600–1749," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(02), pages 413-443, June.
    7. Matthias Doepke & Joel Mokyr & David de la Croix, 2013. "Apprenticeship and Technological Progress in the Malthusian World," 2013 Meeting Papers 76, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Ralf Meisenzahl & Joel Mokyr, 2011. "The Rate and Direction of Invention in the British Industrial Revolution: Incentives and Institutions," NBER Working Papers 16993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Ralph Hippe & Roger Fouquet, 2015. "The human capital transition and the role of policy," GRI Working Papers 185, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    10. Minns, Chris & Wallis, Patrick, 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.
    11. Minns, Chris & Wallis, Patrick, 2013. "The price of human capital in a pre-industrial economy: Premiums and apprenticeship contracts in 18th century England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 335-350.
    12. de Pleijt, Alexandra M., 2015. "Human capital and long run economic growth : Evidence from the stock of human capital in England, 1300-1900," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 229, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    13. Bardsley, Peter & Erkal, Nisvan & Nikiforakis, Nikos & Wilkening, Tom, 2013. "Recursive contracts, firm longevity, and rat races: An experimental analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 217-231.
    14. Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2014. "The Economics of Guilds," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 169-192, Fall.
    15. repec:afc:cliome:v:12:y:2018:i:1:p:99-126 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Marc Klemp & Chris Minns & Patrick Wallis & Jacob Weisdorf, 2013. "Picking winners? The effect of birth order and migration on parental human capital investments in pre-modern England," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(2), pages 210-232, May.
    17. Minns, Chris & Wallis, Patrick, 2011. "Why did (pre‐industrial) firms train?: premiums and apprenticeship contracts in 18th century England," Economic History Working Papers 41348, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    18. Karine van der Beek, "undated". "England's Eighteenth Century Demand for High-Quality Workmanship: Evidence from Apprenticeship, 1710-1770," Working Papers 2013-015, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    19. Feldman, Naomi E. & van der Beek, Karine, 2016. "Skill choice and skill complementarity in eighteenth century England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 94-113.
    20. Ralf R. Meisenzahl & Joel Mokyr, 2011. "The Rate and Direction of Invention in the British Industrial Revolution: Incentives and Institutions," NBER Chapters,in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity Revisited, pages 443-479 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B1 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe

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