Karine van der Beek: Human Capital in the Industrial Revolution

Did the industrial revolution increase the relative demand for skilled labor, or decrease it?

So far, answers to this question largely have been based on conjecture. But for the first time a unique and comprehensive set of evidence of human capital in 18th century England is enabling researchers to do a systematic quantitative analysis of the role human capital played in the industrial revolution. Using the fees paid by the families of apprentices to the apprentices’ masters as an indicator of human capital, Karine van der Beek can assemble a dataset based on the tax records of apprentice indentures. In this exciting example of the potential of economic history, van der Beek aims to provide new, concrete answers to an age-old question.

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