Wed Dec 11, 2013 | 12:30-13:30 | Theatre |

Brown Bag Lecture: What is the economic value of a human life?

Why do we tend to value death rather than life? Bram Van den Bergh, assistant professor at RSM, found that the more people are killed by natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, the more money people donate.

We’ve all seen the shocking number of bodies piled in the streets of Tacloban, Philippines. Even as the death toll of typhoon Haiyan climbs, the truth is that there is a greater number of survivors in dire need of medical assistance, shelter and drinking water. Strikingly, when deciding to donate money and deciding how much, donors are influenced more by the number of fatalities in a natural disaster than the number of survivors.

Assistant Professor Bram Van den Bergh reveals that the higher the death toll in natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, the bigger the donations. People are more generous when the number of fatalities is relatively high. In his lecture Van den Bergh tries to uncover the process of decision-making and shows us tools that can improve it.

The death toll may seem a logical driver of generosity, but in reality donations don’t help corpses – they help survivors. As a result, the aftermath of a natural disaster could be an avoidable humanitarian disaster.

About Bram Van den Bergh    

Bram Van den Bergh is an Assistant Professor at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, whose  research focusses mainly on the social and psychological drivers of judgment and decision-making. His work has been reported by world-wide media including  the BBC, The Guardian, Nature News, the Financial Times, the Economist, National Geographic Channel, Scientific American, Psychology Today, and Time Magazine, and he received the ERIM Award for Outstanding Performance by a Young Researcher in 2011.

Brown Bag Lecture door dr. Bram Van den Bergh | Wednesday 11 December | 12.30 – 13.30 hrs | Erasmus Paviljoen, Campus Woudestein | Lunch permitted | Lecture in English


Organisation: SG Erasmus

Entrance: Free

English Spoken

More information: Website SG Erasmus

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