Every man for himself: Gender, Norms and Survival in Maritime Disasters
2012 (English)Report (Other academic)
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’.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Uppsala universitet, 2012. , 68 p.
Working paper / Department of Economics, Uppsala University (Online), ISSN 1653-6975 ; 2012:8
Social norms, Disaster, Women and children first, Mortality, High stakes
Research subject Economics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-172527OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-172527DiVA: diva2:514872