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How firms’ participation in apprenticeship training fosters knowledge diffusion and innovation

Christian Rupietta and Uschi Backes-Gellner

Journal of Business Economics, 2019, vol. 89, issue 5, No 3, 569-597

Abstract: Abstract Previous studies typically relate apprenticeship training or more generally ‘Vocational Education and Training’ (VET) to training that is highly specific and that uses well-established technologies. Accordingly, apprenticeship training is typically not expected to have positive effects on innovation. In contrast, we argue in this paper that the type of dual apprenticeship training seen in Switzerland (or Germany and Austria) does create positive innovation effects due to the VET system’s built-in and institutionalized curriculum development and updating processes. These processes ensure that firms participating in apprenticeship training gain access to knowledge that is close to the innovation frontier and that ultimately fosters innovation. We provide theoretical explanations of how this knowledge diffusion works and how it can help to generate innovation. We use the Swiss VET system as one example and derive hypotheses about the relationship between firms’ participation in apprenticeship training and their innovation outcomes. Empirical analyses support our hypotheses. In a VET system with a built-in curriculum-updating process like the one in Switzerland (or Germany), firms participating in apprenticeship training have higher innovation outcomes than do non-participating firms.

Keywords: Apprenticeship training; Vocational education; Knowledge diffusion; Innovation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I20 O31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1007/s11573-018-0924-6

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