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Apprenticeship and training in premodern England

  • Patrick Wallis

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.

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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History in its series Economic History Working Papers with number 22515.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:22515
Contact details of provider: Postal: LSE, Dept. of Economic History Houghton Street London, WC2A 2AE, U.K.
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7955 7084
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  1. James Malcomson & James W. Maw, 2002. "General Training by Firms, Apprentice Contracts, and Public Policy," Economics Series Working Papers 86, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Stevens, Margaret, 1994. "A Theoretical Model of On-the-Job Training with Imperfect Competition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(4), pages 537-62, October.
  3. 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.
  4. Thrupp, Sylvia L., 1942. "Medieval Gilds Reconsidered," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(02), pages 164-173, November.
  5. 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.
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