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Do Mfantse Fish Sellers Estimate Probabilities in Their Heads?

Naomi Quinn
American Ethnologist
Vol. 5, No. 2 (May, 1978), pp. 206-226
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/643288
Page Count: 21
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Do Mfantse Fish Sellers Estimate Probabilities in Their Heads?
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Abstract

This paper describes how Mfantse fish sellers deal with choice under uncertainty. An alternative is offered to economists' cognitively unrealistic assumption that decision makers calculate probability distributions to assess the riskiness of uncertain outcomes. Fish sellers appear to minimize risks not by refusing to take risks above a minimum acceptable probability of loss, but by refusing to market their fish if any one of several discrete tests indicates unfavorable market conditions, a "multiple check" strategy derived from sellers' verbal reports.

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