James Mahmud Rice

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James Mahmud Rice
James Mahmud Rice January 2014.jpg
Born1972 (age 49–50)
  • American
  • Australian
AwardsStein Rokkan Prize for Comparative Social Science Research
Academic work

James Mahmud Rice (born 1972) is an Australian sociologist in the Demography and Ageing Unit, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne. He works at the intersection of sociology, economics, and political science, focusing in particular on inequalities in the distribution of economic resources such as income and time and how private and public conventions and institutions shape these inequalities. In 2009 he was awarded the Stein Rokkan Prize for Comparative Social Science Research.[1]

Early life[edit]

Rice was born in 1972 in Honolulu, Hawaii. His mother was a Minangkabau woman from Medan, North Sumatra. His father, who was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was an economist who taught economics at the University of Hawaii and Monash University, in addition to conducting a large number of consultancies in Indonesia.[2][3]


Domestic technology and household work[edit]

Research by Michael Bittman, James Mahmud Rice, and Judy Wajcman[4] has shown that domestic appliances which are designed to make our lives easier do not reduce the overall time spent doing housework, and in some cases may even increase the time spent doing chores.[5]

"The authors ... believe that people use the devices simply to achieve ever-higher standards of cleanliness and refinement in their home, rather than to free up time for other pursuits," according to John Elliott in The Sunday Times.[5]

The results of this research received wide press coverage in Australia and the United Kingdom.[5][6][7][8][9][10]

Temporal autonomy and discretionary time[edit]

Discretionary Time: A New Measure of Freedom[11] by Robert E. Goodin, James Mahmud Rice, Antti Parpo, and Lina Eriksson was published by Cambridge University Press in 2008. It is based on the authors' analysis of data from the United States, Australia, Germany, France, Sweden, and Finland.[12]

The authors propose that temporal autonomy can be used as an indicator of freedom, which is measured by how many hours people are free to do as they please.[13] They then explore how much temporal autonomy people could have under alternative welfare, gender, and household arrangements.[12]

Another one of their statements is that the richer an individual is, the more he or she feels stressed. However, they argue, a richer individual's prosperity could be part of the problem. An example is that a banker who earns £200 per hour has a greater opportunity cost by choosing not to work, than a cleaner who earns only £10 per hour. As a result, the banker may feel compelled to work a greater number of hours than the cleaner does, despite making a greater total income.[14]

Low fertility and standards of living[edit]

How low fertility influences standards of living is examined in research published in Science by Ronald Lee, Andrew Mason, James Mahmud Rice, and other members of the National Transfer Accounts Network.[15] This research indicates, on the basis of an analysis of data from 40 countries, that typically fertility well above replacement and population growth would be most beneficial for government budgets. Fertility near replacement and population stability, however, would be most beneficial for standards of living when the analysis includes the effects of age structure on families as well as governments. Fertility moderately below replacement and population decline would maximize standards of living when the cost of providing capital for a growing labour force is taken into account.

Awards and honours[edit]

In 2009 Rice was awarded the Stein Rokkan Prize for Comparative Social Science Research, together with Robert E. Goodin, Antti Parpo, and Lina Eriksson. The prize was awarded for their book Discretionary Time: A New Measure of Freedom.[16]

Selected bibliography[edit]

Books and reports[edit]

  • Goodin, Robert E.; Rice, James Mahmud; Parpo, Antti; Eriksson, Lina (2008). Discretionary Time: A New Measure of Freedom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-70951-4. S2CID 154300822.
  • Rice, James Mahmud; Temple, Jeromey; McDonald, Peter (2014). National Transfer Accounts for Australia: 2003-04 and 2009-10 Detailed Results (PDF). ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research and Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University. S2CID 153412815.

Journal articles[edit]


  1. ^ "James Mahmud Rice: Home". James Mahmud Rice. Archived from the original on 8 August 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  2. ^ Wie, Thee Kian (2009). "Robert Charles Rice (1939–2009)". Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies. 45 (2): 251–254. doi:10.1080/00074910903040344. S2CID 153924724.
  3. ^ Wills, Ian; Vicziany, Marika; Barton, Greg (14 April 2009). "Modest guru in economics". Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 23 September 2019. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
  4. ^ Bittman, Michael; Rice, James Mahmud; Wajcman, Judy (2004). "Appliances and their impact: The ownership of domestic technology and time spent on household work". British Journal of Sociology. 55 (3): 401–423. doi:10.1111/j.1468-4446.2004.00026.x. PMID 15383094. Archived from the original on 29 November 2021. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Elliott, John (19 September 2004). "It's a hard life on the "labour saving" domestic front". Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 24 October 2021. Retrieved 17 December 2021..
  6. ^ Elliott, John (6 October 2004). "Time savers aren't doing their job". Australian.
  7. ^ Horin, Adele (18 October 2003). "Money can't buy bliss in the kitchen". Sydney Morning Herald.
  8. ^ "Leisure in the red with white goods". mX. 20 September 2004.
  9. ^ Morgan, Tom (20 September 2004). "The labour savers that are making slaves of us". Daily Express.
  10. ^ Safe, Mike (18 October 2003). "The lost weekend - dream travel". Weekend Australian Magazine.
  11. ^ Goodin, Robert E.; Rice, James Mahmud; Parpo, Antti; Eriksson, Lina (2008). Discretionary Time: A New Measure of Freedom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-70951-4. Archived from the original on 7 September 2008. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Discretionary Time". Cambridge University Press. Archived from the original on 25 July 2018. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  13. ^ Graeff, Peter (2012). "Measuring individual freedom: Actions and rights as indicators of individual liberty" (PDF). In McMahon, Fred (ed.). Towards a Worldwide Index of Human Freedom. Fraser Institute. pp. 113–135. ISBN 978-0-88975-259-7. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 July 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  14. ^ Cave, Stephen (28 May 2008). "Time in our hands". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 29 November 2021. Retrieved 9 February 2014..
  15. ^ Lee, Ronald; Mason, Andrew; members of the NTA Network (2014). "Is low fertility really a problem? Population aging, dependency, and consumption". Science. 346 (6206): 229–234. doi:10.1126/science.1250542. PMC 4545628. PMID 25301626.
  16. ^ "Stein Rokkan Prize Winners". European Consortium for Political Research. Archived from the original on 4 March 2018. Retrieved 2 March 2018.

External links[edit]