English Apprenticeship: A Neglected Factor in the First Industrial Revolution

Jane Humphries

in The Economic Future in Historical Perspective

Published by British Academy

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780197263471
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734786 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Centenary Monographs

English Apprenticeship: A Neglected Factor in the First Industrial Revolution

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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

Chapter.  10903 words. 

Subjects: Economic History

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