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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Intrahousehold Commitment

Dear Professor Emmons,

You can find our working paper in attachment. Thank you in advance for considering our research work, we look forward to your reply.

Kind regards,

Ewout Verriest
University of Leuven, Belgium.

Dear Ewout,

Thank you for your submission to the Journal of Universal Rejection.

We have judged your paper is not an important addition to the realm of human knowledge, because what you aim to investigate is already well know.  For example, you say "we develop tests that can empirically verify whether observed consumption behavior is consistent with (varying degrees of) intrahousehold commitment," but I contend these tests are not necessary.

Taking going to my favorite fast food restaurant (Carl's Jr.) as an example.  I want to go like every day.  However my wife says I'm not allowed to.  (Well, she phrases it differently, but that's what it boils down to.)  So therefore I don't go.  Hence my consumptive behavior is consistent with my high degree of intrahousehold commitment.  As we say in math, the example proves the rule.  (Ok, I admit we don't say that.)

Your submission is hereby rejected.

Best regards,
Caleb
--
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Universal Rejection


Dear Prof. Emmons,

I understand your concerns about the relevance of our research, given the scenario you have described.
In your case, it does not look like your wife wants to prevent you from spending too high a share of your global family budget on fast food because she dislikes it and would like to spend it on other commodities (as would be the interpretation of our model), but rather because she is genuinely concerned about your health (something which is not (yet) included in our model).
Nevertheless, it could also be the case that she is more farsighted than you are; she understands that if you were to die young due to overweight or heart/vascular disease caused by Carl’s Jr., this would both be bad for your welfare (evidently) and for her, since she would be worse off personally (she misses you), psychologically (she could have prevented it by forbidding you to go every day) and financially (assuming you are the main earner). Therefore, your wife is either genuinely concerned about your wellbeing, or simply more economically rational than you are. In both cases, I believe she merits a Saturday night dinner in a fancier place than Carl’s Jr. once in a while.

Once I will have incorporated these features into our model, I am confident you will want to reconsider the rejection of our scientific contribution.

Kind regards,
Ewout

Dear Ewout,

Thank you for following up.  The arguments you make (regarding my health etc., etc.) are good.  I shall try your suggestion about a fancy non-Carl's Jr dinner for my wife.  Nevertheless I must let you know that the rejection stands.

Best,
Caleb

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