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Noblesse Oblige? Determinants of Survival in a Life and Death Situation

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  • Bruno S. Frey
  • David A. Savage
  • Benno Torgler

Abstract

This paper explored the determinants of survival in a life and death situation created by an external and unpredictable shock. We are interested to see whether pro-social behaviour matters in such extreme situations. We therefore focus on the sinking of the RMS Titanic as a quasi-natural experiment do provide behavioural evidence which is rare in such a controlled and life threatening event. The empirical results support that social norm such as “women and children first” survive in such an environment. We also observe that women of reproductive age have a higher probability of surviving among women. On the other hand, we observe that crew members used their information advantage and their better access to resources (e.g. lifeboats) to generate a higher probability of surviving. The paper also finds that passenger class, fitness, group size, and cultural background matter.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 389.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:389

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Related research

Keywords: Decision under Pressure; Altruism; Social Norms; Interdependent Preferences; Excess of Demand;

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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Fairness, culture and selfish American men
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-01-20 10:41:00
  2. On the ethics of research cloning
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-04-30 14:51:00
  3. Bruno Frey is in trouble
    by matthiasgreiff in Matthias Greiff on 2011-07-07 09:28:14
  4. On the ethics of research cloning
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-04-30 14:51:00
  5. Bruno Frey is in trouble
    by matthiasgreiff in Matthias Greiff on 2011-07-07 09:28:14
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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Cited by:
  1. repec:qut:qubewp:wp014 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Elinder, Mikael & Erixson, Oscar, 2012. "Every Man for Himself! Gender, Norms and Survival in Maritime Disasters," Working Paper Series 913, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  3. Alexander L. Davis & John H. Miller & Roberto A. Weber, 2011. "Generosity across contexts," ECON - Working Papers 050, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  4. Yamamura, Eiji, 2011. "Effect of free media on views regarding nuclear energy after the Fukushima accident," MPRA Paper 32540, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Andries Richter & Johan Grasman, 2013. "The Transmission of Sustainable Harvesting Norms When Agents Are Conditionally Cooperative," Working Papers 2013.80, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  6. Richter, Andries & Grasman, Johan, 2013. "The transmission of sustainable harvesting norms when agents are conditionally cooperative," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 202-209.

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