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Time, income and substantive freedom: a capability approach

Burchardt, Tania ORCID: 0000-0003-4822-4954 (2010) Time, income and substantive freedom: a capability approach. Time and Society, 19 (3). pp. 318-344. ISSN 0961-463X

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0961463X10369754


This article offers a conceptual model of how resources, including time and human and social capital, interact with responsibilities, including personal care, childcare and other unpaid work, to produce a range of feasible time allocations. Each allocation generates a combination of disposable income and free time. This set of feasible income—time combinations provides a measure of the individual’s capability set or his/her substantive freedom. The approach is illustrated empirically with data and simulations based on the UK Time Use Survey 2000. The results show that having low educational qualifications (reflecting limited command over resources), having more or younger children (implying greater caring responsibilities), being single and being disabled (both of which adversely affect the rate at which resources can be converted into valuable outcomes) are each independently associated with having a small capability set, defined in terms of the level and range of combinations of disposable income and free time that can be achieved. The paper concludes that the range of combinations of disposable income and free time that a person can achieve provides a useful metric for assessing inequality in individuals’ substantive freedom to pursue their goals in life — a key target for liberal egalitarians.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2010 The Author
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2011 14:55
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2024 01:09

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