Surviving the Titanic Disaster: Economic, Natural and Social Determinants

32 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2009

See all articles by Bruno S. Frey

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA; University of Basel

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)

Date Written: February 2009

Abstract

The sinking of the Titanic in April 1912 took the lives of 68 percent of the people aboard. Who survived? It was women and children who had a higher probability of being saved, not men. Likewise, people traveling in first class had a better chance of survival than those in second and third class. British passengers were more likely to perish than members of other nations.

This extreme event represents a rare case of a well-documented life and death situation where social norms were enforced. This paper shows that economic analysis can account for human behavior in such situations.

Keywords: decision under pressure, tragic events and disasters, survival, quasi-natural experiment, altruism

JEL Classification: D63, D64, D71, D81

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S. and Savage, David A. and Torgler, Benno, Surviving the Titanic Disaster: Economic, Natural and Social Determinants (February 2009). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 2551. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1347962

Bruno S. Frey (Contact Author)

CREMA ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zurich, CH 8008
Switzerland
+41 44 380 00 78 (Phone)

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002
Switzerland

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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