Skill Choice and Skill Complementarity in Eighteenth Century England

40 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2014 Last revised: 7 Jul 2015

See all articles by Naomi E. Feldman

Naomi E. Feldman

Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Economics

Karine van der Beek

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 1, 2015

Abstract

This paper provides a broad‐based empirical analysis of the effects of technological change on skill acquisition in the years that led to the British Industrial Revolution. Based on a unique set of data on apprenticeship between 1710 and 1772, the formal system for skill acquisition in this period, we show that both the number of apprentices and their share in the cohort of the fifteen year‐olds‐ increased in response to inventions and that the strongest response was in the highly skilled mechanical trades. These results suggest that technological changes in this period were skill biased mainly due to the expansion of the machinery sector they induced.

Keywords: skill complementarity, skill biased technological change, sbtc, British industrial revolution, technological change, innovations, apprenticeship, skill distribution, England, eighteenth century

JEL Classification: A10, I20, J44, N13, N33, O30

Suggested Citation

Feldman, Naomi E. and van der Beek, Karine, Skill Choice and Skill Complementarity in Eighteenth Century England (April 1, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2417894 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2417894

Naomi E. Feldman

Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Economics ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, IL Jerusalem 91905
Israel
9190501 (Fax)

Karine Van der Beek (Contact Author)

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Economics ( email )

1 Ben-Gurion Blvd
Beer-Sheba 84105, 84105
Israel

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