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Frey, B., Savage, D. A., Trogler, B. (2011). Who perished on the Titanic? The importance of social norms. Rationality and Society 23(1) 35–49

This paper seeks to empirically identify what factors make it more or less likely for people to survive in a life-threatening situation. Three factors relate to individual attributes of the persons onboard: physical strength, economic resources, and nationality. Two relate to social aspects: social support and social norms. The Titanic disaster is a life-or-death situation. Otherwise-disregarded aspects of human nature become apparent in such a dangerous situation. The empirical analysis supports the notion that social norms are a key determinant in extreme situations of life or death.


Frey, Bruno S.

Bruno S. Frey is Full Professor of Economics at the University of Zurich, Distinguished Professor of Behavioural Science at the Warwick Business School at the University of Warwick, UK, and Research Director of CREMA - Centre for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts, Switzerland. He is...

Savage, David

David Savage is a PhD student in the School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.

Torgler, Benno

Benno Torgler is Professor of Economics in the School of Economics and Finance, QUT. He is also a Research Fellow of the Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA) in Switzerland and a CESifo Research Affiliate. Previously he was: a Research Affiliate and Lecturer...

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