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Why do Firms Train Apprentices? The Net Cost Puzzle Reconsidered

Author

Listed:
  • Jens Mohrenweiser

    () (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)

  • Thomas Zwick

    (Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung (ZEW) (Centre for European Economic Research))

Abstract

This paper analyses the impact of replacing unskilled or semi-skilled employees by apprentices on establishment performance. We use representative matched employer–employee panel data and correct for different sources of estimation biases. We show that an increase of the proportion of apprentices in trade, commercial, craft or construction occupations has a positive impact on firm performance. In contrast, companies that increase the share of apprentices in manufacturing occupations face a negative impact on performance, however. These results shed a new light on the popular stylised fact that apprenticeship training always leads to net costs during the apprenticeship period: we argue that firms only hire apprentices at a cost if their skills are relatively specific, their retention rate is high and skilled employees are hard to hire.

Suggested Citation

  • Jens Mohrenweiser & Thomas Zwick, 2008. "Why do Firms Train Apprentices? The Net Cost Puzzle Reconsidered," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0016, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW), revised Oct 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:iso:educat:0016
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    apprenticeship training; performance; panel data estimation;

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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