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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Surviving the Titantic Disaster: Economic, Natural and Social Determinants

  • Author(s): Frey, Bruno S
  • Savage, David A
  • Torgler, Benno
  • et al.

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.

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