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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1147136
 
 

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Where Have All the Heroes Gone? A Self-Interested, Economic Theory of Heroism


Brock Blomberg


Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance

Gregory D. Hess


Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Yaron Raviv


Claremont Colleges - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance

May 1, 2008

Robert Day School of Economics and Finance Research Paper No. 2008-1

Abstract:     
Heroism is a valued part of any society, yet its realization depends on the decisions of individual actors and a public reward to individuals who undertake heroic actions. Military combat related activities provide a useful starting point for thinking about the empirical nature of heroism. Interestingly, if we define heroism by those who have been awarded military honors such as the Congressional Medal of Honor, the number of heroes has actually fallen in the past 35 years. We develop a theory to explain heroism in a rational decision-making framework, and we model the case in which individuals respond to danger to themselves and others based on the costs and benefits associated with acts of courage. We also provide insight into how a government may wish to optimally subsidize heroic actions. We then use our model to understand why the observed decline in heroism could, in fact, be both an optimal individual and social response.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 34

Keywords: Heroism

JEL Classification: H1, H5, H8

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Date posted: June 18, 2008 ; Last revised: October 8, 2008

Suggested Citation

Blomberg, Brock and Hess, Gregory D. and Raviv, Yaron, Where Have All the Heroes Gone? A Self-Interested, Economic Theory of Heroism (May 1, 2008). Robert Day School of Economics and Finance Research Paper No. 2008-1. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1147136 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1147136

Contact Information

Brock Blomberg (Contact Author)
Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance ( email )
500 E. Ninth Street
Claremont, CA 91711
United States
Gregory D. Hess
Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance ( email )
500 E. Ninth St.
Bauer Center
Claremont, CA 91711-6420
United States
CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany
HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de
Yaron Raviv
Claremont Colleges - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance ( email )
500 E. Ninth St.
Claremont, CA 91711-6420
United States
909-607-7305 (Phone)
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