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

Author

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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno S. Frey & David A. Savage & Benno Torgler, 2008. "Noblesse Oblige? Determinants of Survival in a Life and Death Situation," CESifo Working Paper Series 2425, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2425
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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 16:41:00
    2. On the ethics of research cloning
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-04-30 19:51:00
    3. Bruno Frey is in trouble
      by matthiasgreiff in Matthias Greiff on 2011-07-07 14:28:14

    Citations

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    Cited by:

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    2. Savage David A., 2016. "Surviving the Storm: Behavioural Economics in the Conflict Environment," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 22(2), pages 105-129, April.
    3. Mitesh Kataria & Natalia Montinari, 2012. "Risk, Entitlements and Fairness Bias: Explaining Preferences for Redistribution in Multi-person Setting," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-061, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    4. Andries Richter & Johan Grasman, 2013. "The Transmission of Sustainable Harvesting Norms When Agents Are Conditionally Cooperative," Working Papers 2013.80, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
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    6. Lacroix, Jean & Méon, Pierre-Guillaume & Oosterlinck, Kim, 2019. "A Positive Effect of Political Dynasties: the Case of France's 1940 Enabling Act," CEPR Discussion Papers 13871, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Alexander L. Davis & Nadja R. Jehli & John H. Miller & Roberto A. Weber, 2011. "Generosity across contexts," ECON - Working Papers 050, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Mar 2015.
    8. Andrew Greenland & Damon Proulx & David A Savage, 2020. "Dying for the cause: The rationality of martyrs, suicide bombers and self-immolators," Rationality and Society, , vol. 32(1), pages 93-115, February.
    9. Eiji Yamamura, 2012. "Effect of Free Media on Views Regarding Nuclear Energy after the Fukushima Accident," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 132-141, February.
    10. 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.
    11. Sheu, Jiuh-Biing, 2014. "Post-disaster relief–service centralized logistics distribution with survivor resilience maximization," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 288-314.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    decision under pressure; altruism; social norms; interdependent preferences; excess of demand;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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