The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Leisure Class

  • F. Stanković
Reference work entry


The idea of a leisure class was popularized by Thorstein Veblen, whose Theory of the Leisure Class (1899) developed the social categories of pecuniary competition, conspicuous leisure and conspicuous consumption. Bukharin’s Economic Theory of the Leisure Class (1919) argued that marginal utility theory was the theoretical expression of the class of rentiers who had been eliminated from the process of production and were interested only in disposing of their incomes. In The Age of Uncertainty (1977) J.K. Galbraith argued for the continuing relevance of Veblen’s analysis. Modern sociologists, however, show little interest in the idea of a leisure class.


Absentee ownership Bukharin, N. Class Conspicuous consumption Conspicuous leisure Galbraith, J. K. Labour Labour theory of value Leisure Leisure class Marginal utility theory Marxism Private ownership Rentiers Social status Socialism Subjective value theory Veblen, T. 

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  1. Bukharin, N. 1919. The economic theory of the leisure class. New York: Monthly Review Press. 1972. (Originally published in Russian and first published in English in 1927).Google Scholar
  2. Galbraith, J.K. 1977. The age of uncertainty. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  3. Veblen, T. 1899. The theory of the leisure class. London: George Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  4. Veblen, T. 1936. What Veblen taught. In Selected writings of Thorstein Veblen, ed. W.C. Mitchell. New York: Viking Press.Google Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Stanković
    • 1
  1. 1.