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Skill choice and skill complementarity in eighteenth century England

Naomi Feldman () and Karine van der Beek ()

Explorations in Economic History, 2016, vol. 59, issue C, 94-113

Abstract: This paper analyzes the effects of technological change on skill acquisition during the British Industrial Revolution. Based on a unique set of data on apprenticeships between 1710 and 1772, we show that both the number of apprentices and their share in the cohort of the fifteen year-olds increased in response to inventions. The strongest response was in the highly skilled mechanical trades. These results suggest that technological change in this period was skill biased due to the expansion of the machinery sector they induced.

Keywords: Industrial revolution; Human capital; Skill-biased technological change; Apprenticeship; Eighteenth-century England; Mechanical trades; Machine making (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:exehis:v:59:y:2016:i:c:p:94-113

DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2015.09.001

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