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Market Relationships and Market Performance in Northeast Brazil

Timothy J. Finan
American Ethnologist
Vol. 15, No. 4 (Nov., 1988), pp. 694-709
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/645514
Page Count: 16
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Market Relationships and Market Performance in Northeast Brazil
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Abstract

This paper analyzes a large regional market for fruits and vegetables in Northeast Brazil. A single production zone, with its local network of middlemen, supplies three major urban centers. As in many other markets where risk is high and information restricted, these middlemen have developed "equilibrating" relationships to impose order on an uncertain environment. These relationships and their underlying logic are discussed here. These patterns of dyadic ties are related to individual success in the market and to the performance of the market system as a whole. The analysis suggests that market participants use familiar social instruments--such as reciprocity--to make sense of an uncertain economic environment. [economic anthropology, markets, exchange, Northeast Brazil, agricultural development]

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