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Is the German apprenticeship system a panacea for the US labour market?


  • Harhoff, Dietmar
  • Kane, Thomas J.


Advocates of apprenticeship programs often argue as if it is simply a matter of historical accident which has hindered such investment by U.S. firms. This paper explores the structure of incentives undergirding the German system of apprenticeship training. First, we describe three characteristics of the German labor market which may lead firms to accept part of the cost of general training, even in the face of worker turnover. In the second part of the paper, we compare labor market outcomes for apprentices in Germany and high school graduates in the United States. Apprentices in Germany occupy a similar station within the German wage structure as held by high school graduates in the V.S. labor market. Finally, we provide evidence that the problem of forming labor market bonds is particularly acute for minority youth - in Germany as well as in the U.S.. We discuss some implications for the vocational training debate in the U.S.

Suggested Citation

  • Harhoff, Dietmar & Kane, Thomas J., 1995. "Is the German apprenticeship system a panacea for the US labour market?," ZEW Discussion Papers 95-19, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:9519

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    1. Cropper, M L, 1981. "Measuring the Benefits from Reduced Morbidity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 235-240, May.
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    4. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, January.
    5. Van de Ven, Wynand P. M. M. & Van Der Gaag, Jacques, 1982. "Health as an unobservable : A MIMIC-model of demand for health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 157-183, August.
    6. Selma J. Mushkin, 1962. "Health as an Investment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 129-129.
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    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General


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