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General Human Capital and Employment Adjustment in the Great Depression: Apprentices and Journeymen in UK Engineering

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  • Hart, Robert A.

    () (University of Stirling)

Abstract

The relationship between training and firm-level employment adjustment given an unanticipated fall in product demand has been central to human capital theory. The most cataclysmic negative output shock occurred in 1929/30. At this time, easily the most important source of United Kingdom general training was the apprenticeship system. Using data collected by the Engineering Employers' Federation (EEF), this paper examines the impact of the Great Depression on numbers of apprentices and skilled journeymen. Statistics cover eight skilled engineering occupations in 38 local labour markets over the period 1928- 1938. Relative employment adjustment responses of apprentices and journeymen accord well with general human capital arguments.

Suggested Citation

  • Hart, Robert A., 2003. "General Human Capital and Employment Adjustment in the Great Depression: Apprentices and Journeymen in UK Engineering," IZA Discussion Papers 799, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp799
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ben S. Bernanke & James Powell, 1986. "The Cyclical Behavior of Industrial Labor Markets: A Comparison of the Prewar and Postwar Eras," NBER Chapters,in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 583-638 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1993. "Productivity growth and the structure of the business cycle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 861-883, May.
    3. Bean, Charles R., 1990. "Endogenous growth and the procyclical behaviour of productivity," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(2-3), pages 355-363, May.
    4. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
    5. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-338, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hart, Robert A., 2008. "Piece work pay and hourly pay over the cycle," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 1006-1022, October.
    2. Mühlemann, Samuel & Wolter, Stefan C. & Wüest, Adrian, 2009. "Apprenticeship Training and the Business Cycle," IZA Discussion Papers 4460, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Hart, Robert A., 2007. "Women doing men's work and women doing women's work: Female work and pay in British wartime engineering," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 114-130, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    employment adjustments; general human capital; British engineering; Great Depression;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-

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