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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1280764
 
 

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


Bruno S. Frey


CREMA; Zeppelin University

David A. Savage


Queensland University of Technology; QuBE; CEDM

Benno Torgler


Queensland University of Technology; CREMA; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

September 1, 2008

Univ. of Zurich Institute for Empirical Research in Economics Working Paper No. ISSN 1424-0459

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.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 22

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

JEL Classification: D63, D64, D71, D81

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Date posted: October 8, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S. and Savage, David A. and Torgler, Benno, Noblesse Oblige? Determinants of Survival in a Life and Death Situation (September 1, 2008). Univ. of Zurich Institute for Empirical Research in Economics Working Paper No. ISSN 1424-0459. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1280764 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1280764

Contact Information

Bruno S. Frey
CREMA ( email )
Südstrasse 11
Zurich, CH 8008
Switzerland
Zeppelin University ( email )
Am Seemooser Horn 20
Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance 88045
Germany
David A. Savage
Queensland University of Technology ( email )
GPO Box 2434
2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4001
Australia
QuBE ( email )
2 George Street
GPO Box 2434
Brisbane, 4510
Australia
CEDM ( email )
Brisbane, 4001
Australia
Benno Torgler (Contact Author)
Queensland University of Technology ( email )
GPO Box 2434
2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4001
Australia
CREMA
Gellertstrasse 18
Basel
Zurich, CH 8006
Switzerland
CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany
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