University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

‘Consumption as Work’ - Questioning the Meaning of ‘Retirement’ in the Self-Service Economy

Nicholls, Richard (2020) ‘Consumption as Work’ - Questioning the Meaning of ‘Retirement’ in the Self-Service Economy. Journal of Population Ageing. ISSN Print: 1874-7884 Online:1874-7876

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This article contributes to the establishment of a new perspective in the debate on how to respond to the economic and social challenges of ageing society. It re-examines the productive activity of older people through the lens of the self-service economy and initiates a discussion on how the self-service economy can be leveraged to help deal with some of the challenges created by an ageing population. The article’s main argument is built on the growing importance of self-service and the potential for older consumers to engage in such production/consumption. The substantial efficiency gains surrounding increased levels of self-service are illustrated. The potential of the retired population engaging in self-service and thus dampen the life cycle deficit is highlighted. Self-service activity by older consumers is presented as a type of productive activity and as forming part of older people’s contribution to society. It is argued that the growing self-service nature of consumption brings the meaning of ‘retirement’ even further into question. The policy implications of self-service are explored and a wide range of suggestions for further research areas related to self-service and the older consumer are put forward.

Item Type: Article
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This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: ageing society, co-production, older consumers, retirement, self-service consumption, IRWRG
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > Worcester Business School
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Copyright Info: Open Access article (UW Springer OA agreement)
Depositing User: Richard Nicholls
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2021 09:05
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2023 14:07

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