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Why did (pre‐industrial) firms train?: premiums and apprenticeship contracts in 18th century England

  • Chris Minns
  • Patrick Wallis

Despite poor information flows, high levels of uncertainty, and low completion rates, training through apprenticeship provided the main mechanism for occupational human capital formation in pre‐industrial England. This paper demonstrates how training premiums complemented the formal legal framework surrounding apprenticeship to secure training contracts. Premiums compensated parties for the anticipated risk of default, but in most trades were small enough to allow access to apprenticeship training for youths from modest families.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/41348/
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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 41348.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:41348
Contact details of provider: Postal: LSE, Dept. of Economic History Houghton Street London, WC2A 2AE, U.K.
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7955 7084
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/economicHistory/

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  1. Wallis, Patrick, 2008. "Apprenticeship and Training in Premodern England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(03), pages 832-861, September.
  2. Tim Leunig & Chris Minns & Patrick Wallis, 2009. "Networks in the premodern economy: the market for London apprenticeships, 1600-1749," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28686, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Patrick Wallis, 2011. "Labour, law and training in early modern London: apprenticeship and the city’s institutions," Economic History Working Papers 41172, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  4. Van Zanden, Jan Luiten, 2009. "The skill premium and the ‘Great Divergence’," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(01), pages 121-153, April.
  5. 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.
  6. Patrick Wallis & Cliff Webb & Chris Minns, 2009. "Leaving home and entering service: the age of apprenticeship in early modern London," Economic History Working Papers 27873, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  7. Hamilton, Gillian, 1996. "The Market for Montreal Apprentices: Contract Length and Information," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 496-523, October.
  8. Voth, Hans-Joachim, 2001. "The Longest Years: New Estimates Of Labor Input In England, 1760 1830," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(04), pages 1065-1082, December.
  9. Gregory Clark, 2005. "The Condition of the Working-Class in England, 1209-2004," Working Papers 539, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  10. 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.
  11. L. D. Schwarz, 1985. "The Standard of Living in the Long Run: London, 1700–1860," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 38(1), pages 24-36, 02.
  12. Chris Minns & Patrick Wallis, 2012. "Rules and reality: quantifying the practice of apprenticeship in early modern England," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 65(2), pages 556-579, 05.
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