Co-author Confusion

When your co-author is your colleague and also your significant other, confusion often follows. Take this recent post by Arnold Kling on the causes of inequality, where he says:

I think that Betsey Stevenson/Justin Wolfers marriages are another big factor. That is, when highly educated men start looking for wives who are stimulating companions as opposed to kitchen-floor moppers, this reduces cross-class marriages and thereby raises inequality.

I’m flattered by the cite. I think. And so is Betsey (she thinks). But we’re not sure how flattered to be.

Which Betsey Stevenson was Arnold referring to?

Most likely, he’s referring to my co-author Betsey Stevenson, and this is a reference to the Stevenson-Wolfers theory describing the new era of hedonic marriage. More entertainingly, perhaps he’s referring to my significant other, Betsey Stevenson. She’s no “kitchen-floor mopper,” and so he is describing the rise of relationships like ours — relationships between intellectual equals.

Or finally, he could be referring to my marriage to Betsey Stevenson. That is, he’s referring to non-marriages. Betsey and I have learned that couples can form healthy unions without the default contract offered through formal marriage.


ktb

I think Mr. Kling made a far larger faux pas in the ambiguity of his statement then the marriage reference here. While upon consideration he clearly want to make a comparison between the utility a man might find in a mate now vs then (that how intellectually stimulating a woman is matters more than how well she can mop floors- two possibly coexisting attributes that one might weight differently), he chose to use nouns that describe the person ("stimulating companion" and "floor mopper"- easily construed to be two different people, non overlapping, and thus implying two different qualities, non overlapping). I'm not sure it would have occured to him at the time this might be a sensitive subject which invites misinterpretation.

In fairness to him, this is also not particularly helped when the passage is cited out of the context of "economic inequality" but rather just stated as "inequality". You might want to update the article to specify if you want some of your highly educated women readers to avoid gritting their teeth upon first read.

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ms.rose

I do understand the importance of discussion. to human growth and maturation. It helps when it comes to humanitarian concerns (with happiness of colleagues, friends, family etc,). This needs to be kept in mind-

Maura

So, when you're 'significant other' is rushed to the emergency room, will you still feel superior when you have to take the extra time to explain that you don't require formal documentation to prove your love, but are still in a committed relationship and are entitled to see her instead of just saying 'my wife'?

ms.rose

Dear Maura;

Will do- but promise is a promise- I need to keep mine. The integrity of science means alot to me. Joke---I promised Joan Rivers that the last word of it all is due the credit fair and square- Emma knows better that f'ried eggs- let me know where I can send the material for tweeking and prior to sending to Cambridge Drugstore.

nancy

at the same time with today's demands on husbands and wives working and traveling in different directions, you can be rushed to an emergency room and no spouse is around because s/he is on the other side of the world getting business.

In this case you have to wait to find him to get consent.

The emergency room argument can be used as a scare tactic, working for and against you.

Ask someone who has waited eight hours to be "serviced" because a husband, no that would be definite article: the husband was not to be found or was busy doing business.

David

So, when you're 'significant other' is rushed to the emergency room, will you still feel superior when you have to take the extra time to explain that you don't require formal documentation to prove your love, but are still in a committed relationship and are entitled to see her instead of just saying ‘my wife'?

What heterosexuals need is a form of civil non-marriage marriage so you can visit S.O. in ER, get job benefits but not have all the other complications of marriage.