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Every man for himself. Gender, Norms and Survival in Maritime Disasters

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Author Info

  • Elinder, Mikael

    ()
    (Department of Economics)

  • Erixson, Oscar

    ()
    (Department of Economics)

Abstract

Since the sinking of the Titanic, there has been a widespread belief that the social norm of ‘women and children first’ gives women a survival advantage over men in maritime disasters, and that captains and crew give priority to passengers. We analyze a database of 18 maritime disasters spanning three centuries, covering the fate of over 15,000 individuals of more than 30 nationalities. Our results provide a new picture of maritime disasters. Women have a distinct survival disadvantage compared to men. Captains and crew survive at a significantly higher rate than passengers. We also find that the captain has the power to enforce normative behavior, that the gender gap in survival rates has declined, that women have a larger disadvantage in British shipwrecks, and that there seems to be no association between duration of a disaster and the impact of social norms. Taken together, our findings show that behavior in life-and-death situation is best captured by the expression ‘Every man for himself’.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 2012:8.

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Length: 78 pages
Date of creation: 10 Apr 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2012_008

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
Email:
Web page: http://www.nek.uu.se/
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Related research

Keywords: Social norms; Disaster; Women and children first; Mortality; High stakes;

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References

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  1. Bruno S. Frey & David A. Savage & Benno Torgler, 2008. "Noblesse Oblige? Determinants of Survival in a Life and Death Situation," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 237, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Women and children first? No
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-05-11 14:36:00
  2. ‘Women and Children First’ vs. ‘Every Man for Himself’
    by Christopher Shea in Ideas Market on 2012-05-14 13:52:00
  3. Women and children first! Not!
    by Andreas Ortmann in Core Economics on 2012-05-20 07:21:06
  4. [??]????????????????????
    by himaginary in himaginaryの日記 on 2012-05-21 07:00:00
  5. Women and children first! Not!
    by Andreas Ortmann in Core Economics on 2012-05-20 07:21:06

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