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Satisficing versus maximising

Fisherman Dirk Sloot explains the monetary drive of many fishermen and women.

In the previous experiments we programmed the fishermen so that they not only want to catch a lot of fish, but that they also want to be home.

This seems a reasonable assumption, because fishermen also want to be home with family and friends. However, we can assume that fishermen differ concerning how important they find their work. Dirk observes the difference between fishermen concerning the importance of catching a lot of fish.

Dirk explains that not all fishers behave in an economical maximizing way. Instead of maximising their catch, many small fishers are satisficing instead of maximizing their outcomes. Satisficing is an important basic assumption in modelling human behaviour. Whereas much economic theory is based on the idea that people try to optimise their (often financial) outcomes, in reality people have multiple needs they have to balance. Hence a fisherman may decide to stop fishing because time with the family is also important. In practice this means that they stop fishing when they have enough to make a decent living. This having enough is the principle behind satisficing.

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Understanding Human Behaviour: Introduction to Game Theory and Shared Resources

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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