Best Paper Title at CELS?

Cite this Article
Joshua D. Wright, Best Paper Title at CELS?, Truth on the Market (September 11, 2008),

Unfortunately, I’m missing this year’s Conference on Empirical Legal Studies at Cornell. But I spent the morning skimming the program and came across the following from Ilya Beylin & Anup Malani: Finding Love in the Wreckage: Estimating Spousal Altruism with Data on Fatal Car Accidents. Here is a link to the SSRN version and here is the abstract:

This paper estimates the degree of altruism among spouses by examining how often the driver of a car sacrifices himself or herself in order to save a spouse. Holding constant the magnitude of a collision, a driver can maneuver the car to distribute the risk from a collision between the driver and a passenger. We quantify spousal altruism by the degree to which drivers riding with their spouse redistribute the risk from a fatal accident to themselves – as measured by ex post mortality – as compared to drivers not traveling with their spouse. We find that drivers with their spouses are at least 37% more likely to sacrifice themselves. This implies that they value the lives of their spouses at least 37% more than the lives of other individuals.

I would have guessed >37% (indeed, the authors find higher sacrifice rates in other specifications). The 37% figure is for husbands. It is 54% when wives are the drivers.

UPDATE: Larry Ribstein beat me to the punch with this one months ago and proposes an arguably even better title here!