Service Regimes and the Political Economy of Time

Publication type

Book Chapter

Series Number



Social Conceptions of Time: structure and process in work and everyday life



Publication date

August 1, 2002


This paper argues for the importance of the development of a new political economy of time. Marx in Capital focussed on time devoted to paid labour. But, to understand the dynamics of a modern service economy, it is necessary to give equal weight to paid work, unpaid work, and some of the specifics of consumption time. The paper uses a 20-nation comparative dataset, to summarise changes in time use in the last third of the 20th century. It contrasts two 'ideal types' of service economies, associated respectively with 'liberal market' and 'social democratic' public policy regimes. And it suggests that these may be in turn associated with contrasting patterns of class and gender inequality.

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