James Mahmud Rice

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James Mahmud Rice is an Australian sociologist in the School of Demography at the Australian National University. His main research interests lie in the areas of comparative political economy, social stratification, income inequality, demographic change,time use, and social research methods.

Stein Rokkan Prize for Comparative Social Science Research[edit]

In 2009, Rice won the Stein Rokkan Prize for Comparative Social Science Research, along with Robert E. Goodin, Antti Parpo, and Lina Eriksson, for their book Discretionary Time: A New Measure of Freedom. [1][2]

Research: Discretionary Time[edit]

At present, the sociologist is working on two major research projects.

The first is the development of a system of Australian National Transfer Accounts, based on methodologies developed by the global National Transfer Accounts Project. National Transfer Accounts (NTA) have been described as:

A system of macroeconomic accounts that measures present economical flows distinguished by age in a manner consistent with the United Nations System of National Accounts.[3] NTA measures categories of age-specific labour income, asset incomes, consumptions, any savings or transfers, accounting for flows within numerous households, and through the public sector along with the rest of the world. (United Nations Department Of Economic And Social Affairs, National Transfer Accounts Manual: Measuring And Analysing The Generational Economy, United Nations, New York, 2013, page 199) [3]

The second research project is a doctoral thesis on the developments that have taken place upon in income inequality since the late 1970s in Australia and six other countries, which he is completing as part of a Doctor Of Philosophy degree in the School Of Demography .[3]

Aside from these two major research projects, he is as well working on a range of smaller projects on the allocation of income and time. His previous research had been published in journals such as the British Journal of Sociology, the Journal of Public Policy, Labour and Industry, Perspectives on Politics, Science, and Social Indicators Research.[3] A book called "Discretionary Time: A New Measure Of Freedom", was published by the Cambridge University Press in 2008 (with Robert E Goodin, Antti Parpo, and Lina Eriksson).[3] It is based on the authors' analysis of data from the US, Australia, Germany, France, Sweden and Finland.[4] The book was awarded the 2009 Stein Rokkan Prize For Comparative Social Science Research by the International Social Science Council.[3] 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.[5] Another one of their statements is that the richer an individual is, the more he or she feels stressed.[6] 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.[6]

Research: Appliances and Their Impact[edit]

Research by Michael Bittman, James Mahmud Rice, and Judy Wajcman[7] 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.[8]

"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.[8]

The results of this research received wide press coverage in Australia and the UK.[8][9][10][11][12][13]


  1. ^ Stein Rokkan, from the International Social Science Council website
  2. ^ Stein Rokkan Prize, from the European Consortium for Political Research website
  3. ^ a b c d e f "James Mahmud Rice: Home". www.jamesmahmudrice.info. Retrieved 2015-10-25. 
  4. ^ Description of Discretionary Time from the publisher, Cambridge University Press. (Retrieved on 10 February 2014.)
  5. ^ Peter Graeff, "Measuring Individual Freedom: Actions and Rights as Indicators of Individual Liberty," in Towards a Worldwide Index of Human Freedom, chapter 4, Fraser Institute (2013). Available at FreetheWorld.com (retrieved on 10 February 2014).
  6. ^ a b "Time in Our Hands" by Stephen Cave, Financial Times (FT, FT.com), 23 May 2008. (Available from FT.com, retrieved on 9 February 2014.)
  7. ^ "Appliances and Their Impact: The Ownership of Domestic Technology and Time Spent on Household Work" by Michael Bittman, James Mahmud Rice, and Judy Wajcman, British Journal of Sociology, 55(3), September, 2004, pp. 401-423.
  8. ^ a b c "It's a hard life on the 'labour saving' domestic front" by John Elliott, The Sunday Times, 19 Sept, 2004.
  9. ^ "The lost weekend - Dream Travel" by Mike Safe, Weekend Australian Magazine, 18 October 2003.
  10. ^ "Money can't buy bliss in the kitchen" by Adele Horin, Sydney Morning Herald, 18 October 2003.
  11. ^ "Leisure in the red with white goods", mX, 20 September 2004.
  12. ^ "The labour savers that are making slaves of us" by Tom Morgan, The Daily Express, 20 September 2004.
  13. ^ "Time savers aren't doing their job" by John Elliott, The Australian, 6 October 2004.

13. "James Mahmud Rice: Home". www.jamesmahmudrice.info. Retrieved 2015-10-25.