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Is the German apprenticeship system a panacea for the U.S. labor market?

Abstract.

This paper explores the structure of incentives undergirding the German system of apprenticeship training. We first describe characteristics of the German labor market which may lead firms to accept part of the cost of general training, even in the face of worker turnover. We then compare labor market outcomes for apprentices in Germany and high school graduates in the United States. Apprentices in Germany occupy a similar position within the German wage structure as held by high school graduates in the United States labor market. Finally, we provide evidence that – in both countries – the problem of forming labor market bonds is particularly acute for minority youth.

JEL classification: J24, J31, J60

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Received: July 4, 1996 / Accepted February 4, 1997

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Harhoff, D., Kane, T. Is the German apprenticeship system a panacea for the U.S. labor market?. J Popul Econ 10, 171–196 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/s001480050037

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s001480050037

  • Key words: Apprenticeship training
  • human capital
  • wage distribution