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

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  • Minns, Chris
  • Wallis, Patrick

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:41348
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/41348/
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gregory Clark, 2005. "The Condition of the Working Class in England, 1209-2004," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1307-1340, December.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Wallis, Patrick, 2008. "Apprenticeship and Training in Premodern England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(03), pages 832-861, September.
    6. Wallis, Patrick & Webb, Cliff & Minns, Chris, 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. 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, February.
    8. 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, May.
    9. 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.
    10. 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, May.
    11. Hamilton, Gillian, 1996. "The Market for Montreal Apprentices: Contract Length and Information," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 496-523, October.
    12. Wallis, Patrick, 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marc Klemp & Chris Minns & Patrick Wallis & Jacob Weisdorf, 2012. "Family Investment Strategies in Pre-modern Societies: Human Capital, Migration, and Birth Order in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century England," Working Papers 0018, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    2. 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.
    3. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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