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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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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. On the ethics of research cloning
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-04-30 19:51:00
    2. Bruno Frey is in trouble
      by matthiasgreiff in Matthias Greiff on 2011-07-07 14:28:14
    3. Fairness, culture and selfish American men
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-01-20 16:41:00

    Citations

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    Cited by:

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    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. 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.
    5. Stefano Castriota & Sandro Rondinella & Mirco Tonin, 2022. "Does Social Capital Matter? A Study of Hit-and-Run in US Counties," CESifo Working Paper Series 9691, CESifo.
    6. David A Savage, 2016. "Those left behind: Euthanasia, suicide and other regarding preferences," Rationality and Society, , vol. 28(4), pages 439-452, November.
    7. Sara Cools & Martin Flatø & Andreas Kotsadam, 2020. "Rainfall shocks and intimate partner violence in sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 57(3), pages 377-390, May.
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    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Duha Altindag & Samuel Cole & R. Alan Seals Jr, 2022. "The Price of COVID-19 Risk in a Public University," Papers 2204.00894, arXiv.org.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Castriota, Stefano & Rondinella, Sandro & Tonin, Mirco, 2022. "Does Social Capital Matter? A Study of Hit-and-Run in US Counties," IZA Discussion Papers 15212, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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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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