Women and Children First

25 March 2011 at 10:11 am 3 comments

| Peter Klein |

Everything you ever wanted to know about the Titanic disaster. Well, everything behavioral economists want to know, namely who survived — a case study in “Behavior under Extreme Conditions” (Journal of Economic Perspectives, Winter 2011). Bruno Frey, David Savage and Benno Torgler note that the “common assumption . . . that in such situations, self-interested reactions will predominate and social cohesion is expected to  ate and social cohesion is expected to disappear. . . . However, empirical evidence on the extent to which people in the throes of a disaster react with self-regarding or with other-regarding behavior is scanty.” Fortunately (?), the sinking of the Titanic provides “a quasi-natural field experiment to explore behavior under extreme conditions of life and death.”

Examining data on the social and demographic characteristics of survivors and non-survivors they find that women and children were more likely to survive, other things equal, as well as the wealthy and those in a stronger social network (traveling with family members, or being  part of the crew). A morbidly interesting paper, to be sure.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Ephemera. Tags: .

McQuinn Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership An Early Example of a Hold-up. . .

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Richard Ebeling  |  25 March 2011 at 11:11 am

    I have not read this article, yet. But years ago I read historian Walter Lord’s famous account of the Titanic, “A Night to Remember.”

    What struck me, though having read it so many years ago I don’t recall all the details, was his description of the orderly and “gentlemanly” manner in which virtually all the male passengers behaved. Women and children first; the ship’s orchestra continuing to play on deck; the way that those about to face death attempted, almost to the last, to act in a “civilized” manner.

    To the extent that this account was more or less true, it convinced me that that there was something humane and truly dignified in that slightly post-Victorian era.

    And it made me wonder if our society was as “civilized” as theirs.

    Richard Ebeling

  • 2. FC  |  26 March 2011 at 6:57 am

    I’m disappointed they didn’t use “The Cold Equations” somewhere in the title.

  • 3. FC  |  26 March 2011 at 7:12 am

    Having now read the abstract, I wonder what the authors would say about the extreme examples of shipwreck behavior, the Meduse and the Birkenhead.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Authors

Nicolai J. Foss | home | posts
Peter G. Klein | home | posts
Richard Langlois | home | posts
Lasse B. Lien | home | posts

Guests

Former Guests | posts

Networking

Recent Posts

Categories

Feeds

Our Recent Books

Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein, Organizing Entrepreneurial Judgment: A New Approach to the Firm (Cambridge University Press, 2012).
Peter G. Klein and Micheal E. Sykuta, eds., The Elgar Companion to Transaction Cost Economics (Edward Elgar, 2010).
Peter G. Klein, The Capitalist and the Entrepreneur: Essays on Organizations and Markets (Mises Institute, 2010).
Richard N. Langlois, The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism: Schumpeter, Chandler, and the New Economy (Routledge, 2007).
Nicolai J. Foss, Strategy, Economic Organization, and the Knowledge Economy: The Coordination of Firms and Resources (Oxford University Press, 2005).
Raghu Garud, Arun Kumaraswamy, and Richard N. Langlois, eds., Managing in the Modular Age: Architectures, Networks and Organizations (Blackwell, 2003).
Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein, eds., Entrepreneurship and the Firm: Austrian Perspectives on Economic Organization (Elgar, 2002).
Nicolai J. Foss and Volker Mahnke, eds., Competence, Governance, and Entrepreneurship: Advances in Economic Strategy Research (Oxford, 2000).
Nicolai J. Foss and Paul L. Robertson, eds., Resources, Technology, and Strategy: Explorations in the Resource-based Perspective (Routledge, 2000).

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 244 other followers