Finding Love in the Wreckage: Estimating Spousal Altruism with Data on Fatal Car Accidents

22 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2008 Last revised: 26 Aug 2008

See all articles by Ilya Beylin

Ilya Beylin

NYU Law School; Columbia Law School; Columbia University - Law School

Anup Malani

University of Chicago - Law School; University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine; Resources for the Future; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

David Abrams

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Date Written: July 21, 2007

Abstract

This paper estimates the degree of altruism among spouses by examining how often the driver of a car sacrifices himself or herself in order to save a spouse. Holding constant the magnitude of a collision, a driver can maneuver the car to distribute the risk from a collision between the driver and a passenger. We quantify spousal altruism by the degree to which drivers riding with their spouse redistribute the risk from a fatal accident to themselves - as measured by ex post mortality - as compared to drivers not traveling with their spouse. We find that drivers with their spouses are at least 37% more likely to sacrifice themselves. This implies that they value the lives of their spouses at least 37% more than the lives of other individuals.

Suggested Citation

Beylin, Ilya and Malani, Anup and Abrams, David S., Finding Love in the Wreckage: Estimating Spousal Altruism with Data on Fatal Car Accidents (July 21, 2007). 3rd Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Papers. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1119379 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1119379

Ilya Beylin

NYU Law School ( email )

139 MacDougal Street, 419R
New York, NY 10012
United States

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 W 116th St.
New York, NY 10027
United States

Anup Malani (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-9602 (Phone)
773-702-0730 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/malani/

University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine

Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Resources for the Future

1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

David S. Abrams

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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