Who Died on the Titanic?

According to this new paper , girls had the highest probability of surving the Titanic disaster.  The authors claim that this extreme case study highlights that “selfishness”   cannot explain this core fact.  Why didn’t a higher percentage of prime age men survive?   As you might remember, Dora Costa and I have published  a paper about U.S Union Army soldiers’ survival probabilities in Confederate POW Camps.   We document the role that social networks played in increasing survival probabilities.  The role of social capital  in non-market settings is a major theme of our 2008 book Heroes and Cowards.

Author: Matthew E. Kahn

Professor of Economics at UCLA.

6 thoughts on “Who Died on the Titanic?”

  1. “selfishness” cannot this core

    As the press corp yelled out to George Herbert Walker Bush (at least in Doonesbury):

    “A verb, Prof. Kahn, a verb, we need a verb”

    “Explain” doesn’t seem right in this context (but I’ve not looked at the linked paper)

  2. Interesting contrast to statistics of survival of that first winter in the Plymouth Colony.

  3. Prof. David Gleicher is an authority on Titanic survival, and had some other variables that could have been entered into the model. Where in the vessel you were at the time of impact had something to do with survival, and this was also correlated with sex and marital status. http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/fatal-journey-third-class-men.html has a table of interest. The expected and observed survivals may be even more divergent than appears at first glance.

  4. Although young men generally have greater upper-body muscular strength, young women sometimes have greater endurance, particularly in cold water. Consider Channel swimmers.

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