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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno S. Frey & David A. Savage & Benno Torgler, 2008. "Noblesse Oblige? Determinants of Survival in a Life and Death Situation," CREMA Working Paper Series 2008-21, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2008-21
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    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. On the ethics of research cloning
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-04-30 19:51:00
    4. Bruno Frey is in trouble
      by matthiasgreiff in Matthias Greiff on 2011-07-07 14:28:14
    5. Fairness, culture and selfish American men
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-01-20 16:41:00

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    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.
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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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