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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1284967
 
 

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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)

October 2008

CESifo Working Paper Series No. 2425

Abstract:     
This paper explores the determinants of survival in a life-and-death situation created by an external and unpredictable shock. We are interested in seeing whether pro-social behaviour matters in such extreme situations. We therefore focus on the sinking of the RMS Titanic as a quasi-natural experiment to provide behavioural evidence that is rare in such a controlled and life threatening event. The empirical results support that social norms 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: 26

Keywords: decision under pressure, altruism, social norms, interdependent preferences, excess of demand

JEL Classification: D63, D64, D71, D81

working papers series


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Date posted: October 17, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S. and Savage, David A. and Torgler, Benno, Noblesse Oblige? Determinants of Survival in a Life and Death Situation (October 2008). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 2425. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1284967

Contact Information

Bruno S. Frey (Contact Author)
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
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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