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The Temporal Welfare State: A Cross-national Comparison

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  • James Mahmud Rice
  • Robert E. Goodin
  • Antti Parpo

Abstract

Welfare states contribute to people's well-being in many different ways. Bringing all these contributions under a common metric is tricky. Here we propose doing so through the notion of "temporal autonomy": the freedom to spend one's time as one pleases, outside the necessities of everyday life. Using surveys from five countries (the United States, Australia, Germany, France, and Sweden) that represent the principal types of welfare and gender regimes, we propose ways of operationalizing the time that is strictly necessary for people to spend in paid labor, unpaid household labor, and personal care. The time people have at their disposal after taking into account what is strictly necessary in these three arenas-which we call "discretionary time"-represents people's temporal autonomy. We measure the impact on this of government taxes, transfers, and childcare subsidies in these five countries. In so doing, we calibrate the contributions of the different welfare and gender regimes that exist in these countries, in ways that correspond to the lived reality of people's daily lives.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_449.

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Date of creation: May 2006
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Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_449

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  1. Francis Teal, 1992. "The Use and Cost of Child Care in Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 25(1), pages 3-14.
  2. Barrett, Garry F, 2002. "The Dynamics of Participation in the Sole Parent Pension," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 78(240), pages 1-17, March.
  3. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
  4. Lina Eriksson & James Rice & Robert Goodin, 2007. "Temporal Aspects of Life Satisfaction," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 80(3), pages 511-533, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Monika Engler & Stefan Staubli, 2008. "The Distribution of Leisure Time Across Countries and Over Time," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2008 2008-14, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  2. Max Haller & Markus Hadler & Gerd Kaup, 2013. "Leisure Time in Modern Societies: A New Source of Boredom and Stress?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 111(2), pages 403-434, April.

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