The political economy of training: should Britain try to emulate Germany?

Clarke, Linda, Lange, Thomas, Shackleton, J. R. and Walsh, Siobhan (1994) The political economy of training: should Britain try to emulate Germany? The Political Quarterly, 65 (1). pp. 74-92. ISSN 0032-3179 (doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-923X.1994.tb00391.x)

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Abstract

Training provision in Germany is widely assumed to be superior to that in this country, and is frequently held up as the model for an improved system of training for Britain. There is nothing new in this: a hundred years
ago, Alfred Marshall was arguing on very similar lines. But the comprehensiveness of the modern German training system, coupled with the success of the German economy since the 1950s, adds force to the argument. More German workers appear to receive formal training, certainly in the crucial 16-1 8 age group, than in Britain, and far more workers attain certified qualifications. Employers appear genuinely committed to longterm investment in human capital. In this article we examine the political economy of training in the two countries, and try to indicate the economic, legal and institutional incentives which produce the differences between them. We show that the German training system is the product of a wider post-war consensus which has been called ‘socially controlled welfare capitalism’. It cannot be explained in isolation from other aspects of the German economy. British attempts to replicate features of the German system in the UK, where desirable, are likely to prove unsuccessful unless this is understood.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Business School > International Management and Innovation
Item ID: 10248
Depositing User: Thomas Lange
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2013 06:14
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2019 14:10
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/10248

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