Every Man for Himself! Gender, Norms and Survival in Maritime Disasters
Mikael Elinder () and
No 913, Working Paper Series from Research Institute of Industrial Economics
Since the sinking of the Titanic, there has been a widespread belief that the social norm of ‘women and children first’ gives women a survival advantage over men in maritime disasters, and that captains and crew give priority to passengers. We analyze a database of 18 maritime disasters spanning three centuries, covering the fate of over 15,000 individuals of more than 30 nationalities. Our results provide a new picture of maritime disasters. Women have a distinct survival disadvantage compared to men. Captains and crew survive at a significantly higher rate than passengers. We also find that the captain has the power to enforce normative behavior, that the gender gap in survival rates has declined, that women have a larger disadvantage in British shipwrecks, and that there seems to be no association between duration of a disaster and the impact of social norms. Taken together, our findings show that behavior in life-and-death situation is best captured by the expression ‘Every man for himself’.
Keywords: Social Norms; Disaster; Women and children first; Mortality; High stakes (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C70 D63 D81 J16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 78 pages
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem, nep-evo and nep-soc
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Working Paper: Every man for himself. Gender, Norms and Survival in Maritime Disasters (2012)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0913
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