Flexible Supply of Apprenticeship in the British Industrial Revolution

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32 Scopus citations


We use annual information on apprenticeships in England between 1710-1805 to estimate the dynamic supply-responsiveness in this market in the presence of the increasingly powerful technological shocks as the Industrial Revolution proceeded apace. Using both an Instrumental Variable method and a dynamic Vector Autoregression framework (VAR) system to identify the long-run response functions, we find evidence of an elastic supply, sufficiently high as to allow quantities to rise considerably in response to demand shocks. This finding lends support to the view that Britain's apprenticeship institution was the source of its advantage in skilled mechanical labor, so critical to its economic success.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-250
Number of pages43
JournalJournal of Economic History
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


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