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High quality workplace training and innovation in highly developed countries


  • Christian Rupietta

    () (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich)

  • Uschi Backes-Gellner

    () (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich)


Several studies associate vocational education in general with a strong focus on established technologies and a high firm specificity and therefore expect vocational education not to have positive effects on innovations in firms. However, a specific form of vocational education deviates from this notion and provides firms with new knowledge to generate innovations. Vocational education that a collective of firms organizes (like in Germany and Switzerland) has a governance structure that coordinates collective action in order to define training curricula with joint standards. Firms revise these curricula jointly and thereby diffuse new knowledge to all firms that participate in vocational education by training apprentices. In this paper we describe the governance structure of vocational education and identify four different phases of knowledge diffusion that occurring during the definition of joint training standards: knowledge collection, synthesis, transfer and application. The results of our empirical analysis reveal that participating in collectively organized vocational education by training apprentices has a positive impact on a firm's innovations. We show that collective action of firms can generate a specific form of vocational education that provides innovation-relevant knowledge, diffuses it and thereby has a positive effect on innovation in firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Rupietta & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2012. "High quality workplace training and innovation in highly developed countries," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0074, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW), revised Jul 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:iso:educat:0074

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 2001. "Instrumental Variables and the Search for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 69-85, Fall.
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    4. Howitt, Peter & Aghion, Philippe, 2006. "Appropriate Growth Policy: A Unifying Framework," Scholarly Articles 4554121, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    5. Daron Acemoglu, 1997. "Training and Innovation in an Imperfect Labour Market," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(3), pages 445-464.
    6. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-529, October.
    7. Frietsch, Rainer & Rammer, Christian & Schubert, Torben & Bührer, Susanne & Neuhäusler, Peter, 2012. "Innovationsindikator 2012," ZEW Expertises, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research, volume 127, number 110556.
    8. repec:fth:prinin:455 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Stefan C. Wolter & Samuel Mühlemann & Jürg Schweri, 2006. "Why Some Firms Train Apprentices and Many Others Do Not," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 7, pages 249-264, August.
    10. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 2001. "Instrumental Variables and the Search for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments," Working Papers 834, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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    Cited by:

    1. Hinz, Tina, 2016. "Personnel policy adjustments when apprentice positions are unfilled: Evidence from German establishment data," Discussion Papers 99, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    2. Rinawi, Miriam & Backes-Gellner, Uschi, 2013. "Should I stay or should I go? - The Effect of Performance Pay on the Retention of Apprenticeship Graduates," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80024, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2014. "Benefits of Apprenticeship Training and Recent Challenges - Empirical Results and Lessons from Switzerland and Germany," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0097, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    4. Christian Rupietta & Harald Pfeifer & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2017. "Firms' knowledge acquisition during dual-track VET: Which sources are important for innovativeness?," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0131, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    5. Christian Rupietta & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2013. "Combining knowledge stock and knowledge flow to generate superior incremental innovation performance - Evidence from Swiss manufacturing," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0089, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW), revised Apr 2017.
    6. Thomas Bolli & Ursula Renold & Martin Woerter, 2015. "Vertical Educational Diversity and Innovation Performance," KOF Working papers 15-395, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.

    More about this item


    Vocational education; knowledge diffusion; education systems; innovation; empirical analysis; innovation policy;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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