Employment polarization and the role of the apprenticeship system

Michelle Rendall, Franziska J. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper studies the effect of apprenticeship training on technology adoption and labor market polarization. A stylized model with two key features is developed: (1) apprentices are more productive due to industry-specific training, but (2) from the firm's perspective, when training apprentices, technological innovation is costly since training becomes obsolete. Thus, apprentices correlate with slower adoption of skill-replacing technologies, but also less employment polarization. We test this hypothesis on German regions given local variation in apprenticeship systems until 1976. The results show little computer adoption and no employment polarization related to apprentices, but similar displacement of non-apprentices by computers as in the US.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-186
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Economic Review
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Apprentices
  • Educational system
  • Employment polarization
  • Technology adoption

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