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Why do Firms Train Apprentices? The Net Cost Puzzle Reconsidered

  • Jens Mohrenweiser

    ()

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

  • Thomas Zwick

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

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.

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File URL: http://repec.business.uzh.ch/RePEc/iso/leadinghouse/0016_lhwpaper.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU) in its series Economics of Education Working Paper Series with number 0016.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision: Oct 2008
Handle: RePEc:iso:educat:0016
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