Economic Brief

August 2014, No. 14-08

The Prevalence of Apprenticeships in Germany and the United States

Nika Lazaryan, Urvi Neelakantan and David A. Price

The educational systems and labor markets of Germany and the United States take different approaches to preparing young people for the workforce. One feature of Germany's workforce development model that has been of interest to policymakers in the United States is the important role played by employer-financed apprenticeships. The United States instead relies mainly on comprehensive general education, with career training largely taking place in community colleges and other postsecondary institutions. Research has pointed to several factors that may foster apprenticeships in Germany to a greater extent than in the United States, including labor-market conditions, social norms, and other circumstances.

Additional Resources

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Acemoglu, Daron, and Jörn-Steffen Pischke. "Beyond Becker: Training in Imperfect Labour Markets," Economic Journal, February 1999, vol. 109, no. 453, pp. F112-F142. (A working paper version is available online.)

Biavaschi, Costanza, et al., "Youth Unemployment and Vocational Training," IZA Discussion Paper No. 6890, October 2012.

Dustmann, Christian, and Uta Schönberga, "What Makes Firm-Based Vocational Training Schemes Successful? The Role of Commitment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2012, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 36-61. (A previous version is available online.)

Education at a Glance 2013, Paris: OECD Publishing, 2013.

Harhoff, Dietmar and Thomas J. Kane, "Is the German Apprenticeship System a Panacea for the U.S. Labor Market?" Journal of Population Economics, June 1997, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 171-196. (A working paper version is available online.)

Muehlemann, Samuel, and Stefan C. Wolter, "Firm-Sponsored Training and Poaching Externalities in Regional Labor Markets," Regional Science and Urban Economics, November 2011, vol. 41, no. 6, pp. 560-570. (A previous version is available online.)

Registered Apprenticeship National Results, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor.

Ryan, Paul, "The School-to-Work Transition: A Cross-National Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, March 2001, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 34-92. (A previous version is available online.)

Soskice, David, "Reconciling Markets and Institutions: The German Apprenticeship System" in Training and the Private Sector: International Comparisons, edited by Lisa M. Lynch, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994, pp. 25-60.

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