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Apprenticeship and training in premodern England

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This paper re-examines the economics of premodern apprenticeship in England. I present new data showing that a high proportion of apprenticeships in seventeenth century London ended before the term of service was finished. I then propose a new account of how training costs and repayments were distributed over the apprenticeship contract such that neither master or apprentice risked significant loss from early termination. This new account fits with the characteristics of premodern apprenticeship, as well as with what is known about the acquisition of skills in modern and premodern societies.

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