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The Economic Future in Historical Perspective$
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Paul A. David and Mark Thomas

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263471

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263471.001.0001

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English Apprenticeship: A Neglected Factor in the First Industrial Revolution

English Apprenticeship: A Neglected Factor in the First Industrial Revolution

(p.72) (p.73) 2. English Apprenticeship: A Neglected Factor in the First Industrial Revolution
The Economic Future in Historical Perspective

Jane Humphries

British Academy

This chapter examines the role of apprenticeship in the British Industrial Revolution. The apprenticeship system contributed in four ways. First, it provided training of necessary skills in the expanding area of employment and newer sectors. Second, it promoted efficient training among masters and men. Third, it reduced the transaction costs involved in transferring resources from agriculture to non-agriculture and facilitated the expansion of sectors which promoted trade and commerce. Finally, apprenticeship saved poor children from social exclusion and enabled them to become more productive adults. The chapter also suggests that the apprenticeship system also created a structure of contract enforcement which ensured that both masters and trainees would derive the benefits from human capital accumulation.

Keywords:   apprenticeship, Industrial Revolution, employment, training, contract enforcement, human capital

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